An exciting new publication, funded by the Center for Reproductive Health After Disease and the Oncofertility Consortium (P50HD076188), was recently published in the Journal of Early Adolescence. This work is one of the projects supported by the Education Core and has made tremendous progress over the past few years. Lead author, Lisa Hurwitz says "This is the first study to examine children's understanding of puberty and reproductive health in decades and will help to inform modern, developmentally appropriate reproductive health learning curricula."
Lisa Hurwitz is a doctoral candidate working with Ellen Wartella (PI on the Education Core) in the Center on Media Human Development at Northwestern. Hurwitz and colleagues (2016) conducted focus groups with children ages 7-12 exploring their experiences learning about reproductive health topics, and understanding of and attitudes towards puberty and reproductive health. Children learn about reproductive health from parents prior to 5th grade sexual education classes, but their level of knowledge is fairly low. Children in this age range can name few internal sexual organs, they hold scientifically implausible or vague ideas about human conception, and girls nearing menarche are concerned about this transition.
This work was supported by the Center for Reproductive Health After Disease (P50HD076188) from the National Institutes of Health National Center for Translational Research in Reproduction and Infertility (NCTRI).