Teens in Programs More Apt to Vow to Abstain from Sex
Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Teens in abstinence programs are likely to embrace the idea of chastity and take pledges to remain virgins until marriage, according to new federally funded research released yesterday.
Questions remain about whether the teens really will keep their promises to wait, said researchers Christopher Trenholm of Mathematica Policy Research Inc. and Rebecca A. Maynard of the University of Pennsylvania. Additional research conducted over the next few years as the teens age will determine the success of abstinence programs in changing behavior, they said.
Yesterday's report is the first from a longitudinal federal study to evaluate abstinence-education programs funded by the $50 million-per-year Title V program, which was established in the 1996 welfare-reform law.
The study, which was contracted in 1998 by the Health and Human Services Department, involved 2,310 elementary- and middle-school students. Sixty percent of the students were assigned randomly to one of four Title V-funded abstinence programs and the rest to control groups.
The four programs are My Choice, My Future! in Powhatan County, Va.; ReCapturing the Vision in Miami; Teens in Control in Clarksdale, Miss.; and Families United to Prevent Teen Pregnancy in Milwaukee.
After the students had spent a year in their programs, researchers asked them about their knowledge of subjects such as reproduction, risks of sexual activity outside of wedlock, marriage and relationships. …