Sexual knowledge, sexual interests and sources of sexual Information of rural and urban adolescents from three cultures

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1982


A survey of 288 adolescents was conducted to see how their sources of sexual information, sexual interests and actual knowledge were related to their sez, age, urban or rural residence, and ethnicity. Answers to a questionnaire revealed that female subjects were generally more knowledgeable than males about facts of maturation and reproduction, pregnancy and contraception, as well as more interested than males in a number of sexual terms. Urban students indicated a greater familiarity than rural students with several of the terms, but there were only a few urban/rural differences in specific interests. Anglos were generally the most knowledgeable, followed by Hispanics and native Americans, with a number of ethnic differences in interests. Older students knew more facts and were more interested in pregnancy and birth control than younger students. Although the most common source of sexual information was friends, followed by schools, books/magazines and parents, Anglos, females and students from rural areas received more information from their parents than males, Hispanics, and native Americans and students from urban areas. Males were more likely to get information from movies than females. In general, the findings suggest that demographic characteristics of students should be considered by persons interested in adolescent sexual knowledge and in planning sex education curricula.