Satisfaction with sex education in New Mexico high schools: A survey of college students

Meredith Barlow, Eve Espey, Lawrence Leeman, Ariel Scott, Tony Ogburn, Rameet Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the perceived quality of and satisfaction with sex education among University of New Mexico (UNM) college students. STUDY DESIGN: Survey methods utilized with 18–21- year-old UNM freshmen and sophomores who graduated from a New Mexico high school. The survey included questions about type of sex education, satisfaction with sex education (on a 5-point Likert scale), and impact on sexual decision-making and was emailed to participants. RESULTS: A total of 9,866 surveys were emailed; 2,441 were returned (response rate=24.7%); 415 did not attend high school in New Mexico, leaving 2,024 surveys in the analytic sample. Comprehensive sex education received higher ratings than abstinence-only or no sex education (3.29±0.03 vs. 2.53±0.07 vs. 1.87± 0.08, respectively, p<0.0001). More students receiving comprehensive sex education than abstinence-only education reported improved ability to make decisions about sexual initiation (66.6% vs. 54.0%; p=0.0005), pregnancy prevention (92.7% vs. 72.9%; p<0.0001), sexually transmitted infection prevention (92.5% vs. 70.4%; p<0.0001), and avoidance of unwanted sex (77.6% vs. 65.8%; p=0.0003). CONCLUSION: New Mexico college students were more satisfied with comprehensive sex education in high school. New Mexico should consider establishing a state requirement for comprehensive sex education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Birth control
  • Contraception
  • Pregnancy in adolescence
  • Schools, Secondary
  • Sex education
  • Sexual abstinence
  • Teenage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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