Date of Award

Fall 12-18-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Gabriel Kuperminc

Abstract

The present study is a mixed-method evaluation of the delivery of sexuality education in the context of a youth development program called Cool Girls, Inc. Part one was a quasi-experimental, pre and post-test design for which 216 program participants and 92 demographically matched comparisons were surveyed on variables associated with healthy sexual decision-making. It was hypothesized that participation in the program would be associated with increases in these variables, increases in helping resources for questions about sex, and that helping resources would mediate the relationship between participation and study outcomes. Participation predicted one of the sexual efficacy items: at the trend level. Length of time in Cool Girls, Inc. significantly predicted one attitudes toward sexuality item. Helping resources at time two predicted post-test hope at the trend level. The mediation hypothesis was not tested due to the lack of findings for path b in the mediation model. Part two of the study was a qualitative process evaluation consisting of interviews with each of the program’s site coordinators. Group activities and discussion were the most common forms of delivering the sexuality education. The most common topics were relationships, the body, and sex. Site coordinators tended to express external support, but experienced some internal barriers and barriers to involving parents. It was revealed that Cool Girls, Inc. increases social capital by providing site coordinators as mentors and increasing intergenerational closure. How each part of the study informs one another, as well as limitations and future directions are discussed.

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