Source: Pamela Kohler, et al., “Abstinence-Only and Comprehensive Sex Education and the Initiation of Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy,” SIECUS Analysis: This study adds to the growing body of research in support of a comprehensive approach to sexuality education.
First, it confirms that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are not effective in changing young people’s sexual behavior or preventing negative outcomes such as teen pregnancy.
The other six programs evaluated are community-wide interventions and were reviewed for implementation and process analysis only. Key Findings: As of 2004, 11 states had made the results of evaluation of their state-wide abstinence-only-until-marriage programs available for review.This review summarizes the results from state-wide evaluations in Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.Description: Researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative study of students enrolled in grades 7–12 in 1995, to determine the impact of virginity pledges on young people’s sexual behavior. Description: Researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative study of students enrolled in grades 7–12 in 1995, to determine how virginity pledges impacted the rates of sexually transmitted diseases among young people who took them.Description: Researchers at the University of Washington set out to compare the sexual health risk of adolescents who have received various types of sexuality education.More importantly, however, it confirms that programs that teach young people about both abstinence and contraception/disease prevention are, in fact, effective.
In particular, the authors found that receiving information about birth control in formal sex education was associated with a 50% lower risk of teen pregnancy when compared to receiving information only on abstinence.And, though we know little about the abstinence-only programs that these students were exposed to, we do know that they withheld information about contraception and we know that this approach has failed to reduce sexual activity, teen pregnancy, or STDs.The stated goals of federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are to delay sexual activity and prevent teen pregnancy and, yet, this research shows again that programs that discuss birth control as well as abstinence do a better job at both of these tasks.In addition, virginity pledges, a cornerstone of many of these programs, have been shown to be ineffective at best and possibly harmful.As abstinence-only-until-marriage programs have gained popularity many new curricula and resources have been created.Key Findings: Although they were once the sole province of religious organizations, many secular groups and schools now host events where students sign “virginity pledges” as a way to promote pre-marital abstinence.