Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Education Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Melody Noland


This dissertation seeks to enhance the understanding of sexual health education efforts, as they currently exist in Kentucky’s public high schools. It will include an examination of the factors that influence the provision of sexual health education in Kentucky schools, including relevant legislation, directives from the Kentucky Department of Education, and the presence of site-based councils within the Commonwealth. Additionally, the suggested curriculum elements from the Kentucky Department of Education’s Academic Standards, which were implemented during the 2019-2020 school year, will be compared to those established within the National Sexuality Education Standards (NSES), which serve as a gold standard for sexual health education. Information gathered during semi-structured interviews with professionals who participated in the drafting and approval process for the modified sexual health content of the Kentucky Academic Standards will be analyzed using reflexive inductive thematic analysis.

Responses from the School Health Profiles Survey (SHPS), which was conducted among a sample of Kentucky’s lead health education teachers in 2018, will undergo an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) of the 20 items corresponding to the CDC’s Critical Sexual Education Topics (CSET). The results of the EFA will identify whether the CSETs represent a single latent theme, or if they can be understood as being multidimensional, and will allow a score or scores to be created to represent the extent to which a particular respondent covers this content within his or her classes. In addition to the EFA, the author will summarize the findings of predictive modelling using logistic regression to test whether interpersonal, intrapersonal, and institutional factors, as defined in the Social Ecological Model, predict how completely the CSET-related curriculum content will be provided to students. Finally, the author will address the implications and suggestions for future research and practice, and will present general conclusions about the project.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)