The salience and utility of school sex education to young women

Buston, K. and Wight, D. (2002) The salience and utility of school sex education to young women. Sex Education, 2(3), pp. 233-50. (doi: 10.1080/1468181022000025794)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL:


This article explores young women's accounts of the role that school sex education had in their learning about sex. It focuses on the influence of school sex education on behaviour, the importance of timing in understanding its utility, and the extent to which other sources of information complement or supplement school sex education. Thirty in-depth interviews and eight group discussions were conducted with female pupils from six schools in the east of Scotland. Nearly all of those interviewed cited school as a useful source in learning about sex. In particular, lessons intended to develop pupils' skills were valued. These were thought likely to influence behaviour positively in the future, although only one person could illustrate how this had already happened. A common feature of accounts was that school sex education had been delivered 'too late' for themselves or their peers, and it tended to be seen as an introduction or as supplementary to other sources, particularly friends, magazines and mothers. The utility of school sex education should not be dismissed but more attention should be given to the needs of those who become sexually active in their early teens.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wight, Professor Danny and Buston, Dr Katie
Authors: Buston, K., and Wight, D.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Centre for Population and Health Sciences
Journal Name:Sex Education

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record