Latinx teens and sex education: How effective is it?

June 11, 2020

Sex education can help lead to better sexual health outcomes for teenagers. A meta-analysis looks at how interventions can help improve sexual health outcomes for Latinx adolescents.

The type and depth of discussion of sex education can vary depending on the form of education (eg, comprehensive vs abstinence only), neighborhood, and other cultural concerns. For Latinx teenagers, this could lead to a risk for negative sexual health outcomes. A meta-analysis in Pediatrics looks at how a number of interventions helped cut that risk down.1

The investigators performed a systemic search of studies that had been published through January 2019 via PubMed, PsycINFO, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature databases. Each study included a sample of Latinx teenagers, a behavioral outcome, and an experimental or quasiexperimental design to evaluate sexual health interventions. All studies were written in English.

The meta-analysis looked at intervention impact on 3 psychological outcomes: safer sex knowledge, intentions, and self-efficacy, as well as 3 behavioral outcomes: abstinence, condom use, and number of sex partners. A total of 12 studies that included 4673 teenagers were used. Overall, sexual health intervention when compared with control conditions were found to improve abstinence, condom use, sexual health knowledge, and number of sex partners. These effects were found to be constant across a number of demographic and clinical characteristics. The researchers also found that interventions that were culturally tailored had a greater impact on condom use than interventions that were not.

Investigators stated that interventions for sexual health led to small but significant improvement in safer sexual behavior in Latinx teenagers. Further, they state that the importance of cultural tailoring should be considered when creating sex education programs.


1. Evans R, Widman L, Stokes M, Javidi H, Hope E, Brasileiro J. Sexual health programs for latinx adolescents: a meta-analysis. Pediatrics. 2020:145(6):e20193572. doi:10.1542/peds.2019-3572