Program Bolsters Abstinence Intent; but Teen Behavior No Different
Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Teens in a South Carolina program aimed at reinforcing their abstinence education were more likely to support an abstinent lifestyle but were no different in their sexual behaviors from those taught abstinence without the supplemental classes, a study finds.
All 604 students in the study took Heritage Keepers' core abstinence education classes, but only half participated in the group's supplemental Life Skills Education program, said Christopher Trenholm, a researcher with Mathematica Policy Research Inc.
The study was conducted for the Health and Human Services Department to examine the effects of a supplemental abstinence program, rather than the full abstinence program.
The Life Skills teens were significantly more likely than the control group to support abstinence messages and say they expected to abstain from sex at least through high school if not until marriage.
"That's an important starting point," Mr. Trenholm said. "You would not expect to see behavioral changes down the road if you didn't see changes" in expectations.
However, when it came to behavior, no differences were found: Forty percent of both groups reported having sex at least once and didn't differ in what age they first had sex or number of sexual partners.
Heritage Keepers is a grantee of the Title V Abstinence Education program, which is up for renewal later this month. …