Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD, Director; Patricia Lowry, PhD; Patricia O'Halloran, PhD


adolescents, biological knowledge, California, Catholic church doctrine, Catholic secondary schools, education, positive sexual attitudes, Sex Education, social values


Human sexuality programs, or sex education programs, have been a controversial issue for many years. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of human sexuality programs within Catholic secondary schools. This study investigated the effect of comprehensive or non-comprehensive sexuality programs upon students' Positive Sexual Attitudes, awareness of Catholic Church Teachings, integration of Catholic Church Values, integration of current Social Values, and Biological Knowledge. Comprehensive human sexuality programs were defined as those containing three or more full semesters of classes related to sex and sexuality. Non-comprehensive human sexuality programs were defined as those containing less than two full semesters of such courses. The research study took place in four Roman Catholic dioceses in the State of California. Twelfth grade female and male students participated in the study and the sample population was established at 1,555. Several survey instruments were developed to test six hypotheses. A quantitative methodology was used in order to present the survey instrument data in a clear and concise manner. The demographic profile supplied independent variables, such as sex and religious influence upon behavior, for additional data analysis. Analytical results showed that only in the areas of Positive Sexual Attitudes and Biological Knowledge were comprehensive human sexuality programs significantly different from non-comprehensive sexuality programs. Higher scores for females over males were seen in five of the hypotheses. In the hypothesis concerning Social Values, males scored higher. Significant differences were noted in religious influence upon behavior in Catholic Church Teachings, Catholic Church Values, and current Social Values.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access