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Abstract

Health and Sexuality Education in Portugal: Principal’s, Teacher’s, Parent’s and Student’s Perceptions

Sexuality is an ongoing and permanent process of socialization that should provide young people with knowledge, attitudes and skills that allow them to make responsible choices. This research aimed to describe Sexuality Education integrated in a Health Education context in four perspectives: school boards (through principals), teachers, parents and students. Three studies were conducted for the sake of this research. The samples included 84 school principals (study 1), 401 teachers and 65 parents (study 2) and 3494 students (study 3). Results showed that overall most schools implemented and evaluated Health Education and Sexuality Education, though teachers need training and families still don?t engage in Sexuality. In addition, students who reported having had Sexuality Education classes during the last years reported a lower rate of sexual intercourse, a lower rate of having initiated their sexual life at 11 years old or younger, and higher mean total score for knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS transmission/prevention as well as higher mean total score for attitudes towards people living with HIV. In general, it can be stated that the action of schools within the promotion of Health and Sexuality Education was meeting the ministerial recommendations in 2010; however, a special concern is due regarding not only ?if?, but ?how? these recommendations were implemented, since the quality and the conditions of the implementation can optimize or compromise a sustainable action. One example is the low political engagement in the issue, which is translated in lack of teachers? training, lack of time allocated to the subject in teachers? timetables, lack of money attributed to schools to develop programs and finally lack of official recognition of its broad importance for students? global well-being and health.


Author(s):

L?cia Ramiro, Marta Reis, Margarida Gaspar de Matos.



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