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A CRITIQUE OF THE ABSTINENCE-ONLY APPROACH: A Consideration of Adolescent Decisional Development and Democratic Sexual Citizenship

The present thesis poses a focused challenge to the abstinence-only approach in adolescent sex education. The first chapter clarifies the term abstinence-only and provides context to the debate surrounding the abstinence-only approach. The second chapter addresses at length the role of information provision in the development of knowledge and decisional skills in adolescents. Abstinence-only education is indefensible because of its refusal to provide a significant measure of sexual health information to adolescents, even though these individuals are, by and large, capable of understanding and reflecting upon such information. Furthermore, exposure to accurate, relevant, and comprehensive information is crucial to the strengthening of adolescents emergent decisional capacities. Thus the provision of information lends itself greatly to adolescents maturation as reliable decision-makers. In the third chapter, I maintain that the abstinence-only approach fails to recognize the value of providing students with an appropriate discursive venue in which they may meaningfully discuss their own perspectives while also developing a sense of the views and needs of other sexual citizens. The pro-discourse stance I take in this chapter responds to the charges of discourse opponents and demonstrates that these measures of censorship both passively waste opportunities for students to become well-informed, enabled, and empowered sexual agents and may actively damage and deprive the well-being and flourishing of particular groups.
Date04 June 2008
CreatorsKornman, Angela
ContributorsRhonda Gay Hartman, Donna Imhoff, Lisa S. Parker
PublisherUniversity of Pittsburgh
Source SetsUniversity of Pittsburgh
Detected LanguageEnglish
Rightsunrestricted, I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to University of Pittsburgh or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report.

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