Perceptions of self-efficacy and attitudes about sexuality among students in undergraduate human sexuality courses

Eva Clark-Lepard

Researchers have been interested in learning about sexual attitudes and people’s ability to manage their sexual health for decades. However, new research is required as societal views are continuously shifting and many are becoming more aware and empathetic. The aim of this project was to investigate changes in student attitudes and sexual self-efficacy after taking an undergraduate human sexuality course at McMaster University. A novel questionnaire with items on STIs, contraception, masturbation, reproductive anatomy, reproductive physiology, consent, unwanted pregnancy, sexual orientation, and paraphilias was used. This questionnaire was delivered at the beginning and the end of term in biology-based and psychology-based human sexuality courses. The results illustrated that responses from the psychology-based course changed on more self-efficacy and attitudinal items than the biology-based course. The category of items where student responses shifted the most was the self-efficacy of sexual communication and consent items. These findings may be used to inform Canadian universities’ sexual health promotion programming as well as undergraduate human sexuality course curriculum.