A feasibility study of adolescent sex education: medical students as peer educators in Edinburgh schools

James Jobanputra, Alice R Clack, Giles J Cheeseman, Anna F Glasier, Simon C Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

OBJECTIVES: To determine the feasibility of medical students being involved in sex education in secondary schools, as lesson leaders in peer group discussions.

DESIGN: 1. Questionnaires and interviews to determine pupil and professional opinions about the present sex education provision and the possible involvement of medical students. 2. A pilot scheme in one school involving medical students as peer educators.

SETTING: Six central Edinburgh secondary schools; local sex education services; Edinburgh University.

SAMPLE: 1. Thirty schoolteachers and 205 pupils returned questionnaires. From this, 18 teachers and 12 pupil groups (six to eight pupils each) were interviewed. 2. Pilot scheme involved three sessions with three groups of six to eight pupils per session. Twenty-nine returns for the evaluative (pupil) questionnaire were received. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREs: Questionnaire analysis; anecdotal evidence from interviews; evaluative questionnaire given to pupils participating in pilot study.

RESULTS: Ninety-four percent of teachers and 93% of pupils were in favour of medical student involvement in schools. Teachers identified large class size and lack of resources for small group work as factors limiting the effectiveness of present sex education. Pupils identified teacher embarrassment in certain issues as a barrier to communication, and 89% found communication to be easier with medical students.

CONCLUSIONS: Response to the idea of medical student involvement was very favourable from all parties involved, and a continuation of the study has been integrated as an options course into the Edinburgh University undergraduate medical curriculum
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-891
Number of pages5
JournalBritish journal of obstetrics and gynaecology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1999


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