The rate of teenage sexual involvement is at an all-time high. Traditional sex education is obviously not working. Abstinence education programs have been initiated within some school districts in an effort to decrease the number of adolescent pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to investigate the perceptions of risks and intentions of sexual activity in eighth-grade students before and after an abstinence education program. Pender's Health Promotion Model was utilized as the theoretical framework for this research. Two null hypotheses were used throughout this study. The first hypothesis stated that there would be no difference in perceptions of risks related to sexual activity among eighth-grade students before and after an abstinence education program. The sample consisted of 24 males and 38 females, of whom 19 were African Americans and 43 were Caucasian. The sample was drawn from a class in a rural southeastern school district. The mean age was 13.92 years. Data were obtained by using self-report questionnaires before and after the abstinence education program. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the demographic information. Findings from the study showed a significant increase in both perceptions of risks, t(61) = 2.97 6, £ = .004, and intentions to abstain from further sexual behavior, t(61) = -4.952, p = .000. This finding indicated that after the abstinence program adolescents' thoughts about sexual activity substantially changed, further validating the need for abstinence-based education in the school system. The following recommendations were made for future nursing research: Replicating using a larger sample with more ethnic groups, initiation of STD and sexual abstinence education in early adolescents, and provision of education for parents regarding a systematic approach to teaching their children about sex.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Lorraine Hamm

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia Smyth

Third Advisor

Barbarba Bryan

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons