Curriculum Objectives

The Positive Choice Program Curriculum is designed to teach the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity until marriage. The program equips today's youth with the tools to say no to risky behaviors and yes to their future goals and dreams. Each session is designed to stimulate participation by using DVD media, group and individual activities and role-play.

The curriculum consists of four modules on one DVD and a manual. Each module can be used individually, but it is recommended that they be used as a series in order to fully benefit from the definition and impact of sexual abstinence, and avoidance of risky behaviors. Peer Educators earn the curriculum and train to present it in an effective manner. This is a requirement of Peer Educator Certification.

After completing the curriculum, participants will be able to demonstrate:

  • Identification of their goals and dreams and people who will support them

  • Increased knowledge of the consequences of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and non-marital pregnancy before or outside of marriage

  • Understanding that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid non-marital and STDs

  • Increased understanding of renewed abstinence

  • Understanding of the specific benefits of choosing abstinence until marriage regardless of previous sexual activity

  • Understanding of specific social, psychological, and health risks of sex before marriage and sex with multiple partners

  • Identification of and understanding of the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from premarital sexual activity

  • Identification of ways to express affection without engaging in sexual activity

  • Understanding of how sexual images in the media impact sexual decision-making

  • Increased knowledge of the benefits of marriage

  • Increased positive attitudes towards practicing abstinence until marriage

  • Enhanced refusal and negotiation skills necessary to resist sexual urges, advances, and offers to participate in high-risk activities such as drug use and alcohol consumption, which may make them more vulnerable to sexual advances and urges

  • Increased ability to build healthy relationships

Theoretical Framework

The Positive Choice Curriculum reflects a cognitive-behavioral approach that is consistent with the Social Cognitive Theory, the Theory of Reasoned Action and the Theory of Planned Behavior. These theories suggest that a sound behavioral health intervention must increase knowledge, positive attitudes, self-efficacy and skills related to the preventive behavior. The intervention must also enhance participants' beliefs that they are in fact, vulnerable to health risks, but also in control of preventing such risks by exercising healthy behaviors. These components of the Social Cognitive Theory, the Theory of Reasoned Action and the Theory of Planned Behavior are highlighted by various activities in the curriculum which aim to increase participants' knowledge and risk perception for STDs and unplanned pregnancy; identify risky situations and the importance of abstinence until marriage; address participants' attitudes regarding the concepts of abstinence until marriage, including why wait; increase participants' ability and confidence to negotiate abstinence and remain committed to the healthy behavior, despite different types of risky situations.

Intervention Domains

There are several Intervention Domains or strategies that are used in the Positive Choice Curriculum such as brainstorming, DVD vignettes, games and role-playing. Brainstorming allows the participants to develop as many creative solutions as possible to a particular question, in a relative short time span. During brainstorming sessions there should be no criticism of ideas. You are trying to open possibilities and break down wrong assumptions about the limits of the problem.

Video vignettes can also present information in a non-threatening manner. Video vignettes can be used to increase knowledge about a particular topic or to expose one's personal vulnerability to the situation. For example, in the Positive Choice curriculum, DVD vignettes are used to discuss the facts about STDs and non-marital pregnancy as well as to highlight teens' personal risk to these negative consequences.

Games can also be used to increase participants' knowledge in addition to reinforcing the information that has been learned. Making learning fun motivates participants and helps them pay attention and stay focused on the subject. Young adults will often go out of their way to play games and demonstrate what they know. In this program, games are an excellent tool, by which the facts about STDs and pregnancy are emphasized. Games are also used to explore attitudes about abstinence until marriage.

Another intervention strategy that is used in the Positive Choice Curriculum is role-playing. In general, role-playing is used to develop and fine-tune the skills needed to make the learned information applicable and valuable in real world settings. For the participants in this program, role-plays can serve to answer two questions, 1. How might the information I have heard throughout this program play out in my life?, and 2. What are some ways I can handle these types of situations? For the facilitator, on the other hand, role-plays can answer the question as to whether or not the participants understand how to negotiate abstinence and avoid risky situations as well as how confident the participants feel doing the behavior.

 

DID YOU KNOW...
In the U.S., teens spend an average of six to seven hours each day with some form of media.