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

Kornman, Angela (2008) A CRITIQUE OF THE ABSTINENCE-ONLY APPROACH: A Consideration of Adolescent Decisional Development and Democratic Sexual Citizenship. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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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.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairParker, Lisa Slisap@pitt.eduLISAP
Committee MemberImhoff,
Committee MemberHartman, Rhonda Gayhartmanr@pitt.eduHARTMANR
Date: 4 June 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 27 March 2008
Approval Date: 4 June 2008
Submission Date: 14 April 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Bioethics
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: adolescent decision-making; sex education; sexual minorities; sexuality education; women's sexuality; abstinence-only; sexual citizenship
Other ID:, etd-04142008-121949
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:40


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