Addressing teenage pregnancy in rural areas: A case study from Liberty County, Texas

Sarah Vichensont, The University of Texas School of Public Health


This study explores the issue of teenage pregnancy in a case study of Liberty County, a rural area in Texas with no public health department. It also describes the decision-making process and barriers faced in the beginning phases of adopting a sexual education program, and sets forth an implementation plan for two school districts on disseminating an evidence-based, comprehensive curriculum. Methods include a review of epidemiological data surrounding teenage pregnancy on the national, state, and county level; a literature review of factors related to teenage pregnancy and past interventions implemented in a rural community; a policy review of past and current bills in Legislature; and an analysis of barriers and decision making in implementing an evidence based program through qualitative observations, discussions with community members during meetings, presentations, and discussions. Results of this study indicate that there is a lack of research conducted in rural areas in the field of teenage pregnancy prevention and sexual education programs. Barriers experienced in Liberty County are shown to be consistent in scientific literature such as funding, logistical issues, and problems approaching the School Board in adopting a comprehensive sexual education program. This study fills a large gap in the literature on rural adolescents and attempts to analyze the process of decision-making in a rural area related to adoption of sexual education programming. In order to relieve this health disparity, further research should focus on rural areas to gain insight on the attitudes and behaviors of rural adolescents and beliefs among community stakeholders.

Subject Area

Secondary education|Public health|Health education

Recommended Citation

Vichensont, Sarah, "Addressing teenage pregnancy in rural areas: A case study from Liberty County, Texas" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1515663.