Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Bethany Stevens, JD

Second Advisor

Bruce Perry, MD


Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy are significant public health concerns. Abstinence-only until marriage (AOUM) and abstinence pledge programs have received a significant amount of government funding in an attempt to address these problems. Despite receiving over two billion dollars in funding, the programs have not been shown to be effective in achieving their stated goals. In addition, there are significant concerns about the content of AOUM curriculums, including medical inaccuracy and use of outdated gender stereotypes.