Date of Conferral





Public Health


Jennifer Oliphant


Adolescent pregnancy and the sexual behaviors of adolescents continue to be robust public health and social problems in Caribbean countries such as Jamaica. Numerous researchers have conducted studies on the impact of sex education on sexual behaviors and pregnancy patterns among adolescents with mixed results (i.e., a lack of knowledge) especially in rural communities. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the impact of school- or home-based sex education on sexual behavior and pregnancy patterns of adolescents aged 15 —19 years in the rural community of St. Thomas, Jamaica. The parental expansion of the theory of planned behavior and cognitive behavior theory constituted the theoretical foundation for this quantitative descriptive cross-sectional study. Secondary data from the 2008 Jamaica Reproductive Health Survey (N = 8,200) were analyzed. Descriptive statistics, chi-square, and Cramer's V were computed to determine the relationship and strength between the independent variables (school- and home-based sex education) and the dependent variables (pregnancy and sexual behaviors of adolescents). The results indicate a weak negative inverse relationship that was not statistically significant between sex education in school and sex education at home on adolescent pregnancy. There is a weak positive relationship between sex education in school on condom use and a positive measure of association between sex education at home on condom use. This study may be significant to local community health departments seeking inventive techniques for improving and enhancing existing programs. The results of this study also contribute new data on the impact of sex education on adolescent pregnancy and the sexual behavior of adolescents.