Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Family Sciences (MSFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Ronald Werner-Wilson


Based on the various changes in sexual education, many schools throughout the United States still teach abstinence-only education. There is a plethora of literature on the effectiveness of sexual education programs as well as adolescent sexual practices. However, there is a deep gap in literature on students' perspectives of their sexual education and the possible effects it has on their experiences while in college. Therefore, this phenomenological study aims to explore and describe the essence of the experience female university students have regarding the abstinence-only education they received during secondary schooling. The informants (n=12) were 19-22 year old female university undergraduate students who received abstinence-only education within their middle and/or high school. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews. Data was analyzed through a phenomenological approach where themes and sub-themes emerged. The results from this study indicate that no matter what the participants’ personal beliefs and values surrounding sex are, their abstinence-only sexual education did not teach them adequate information for their secondary school years nor to prepare them for their time in a university setting.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)