Efficacy of a Theory-Based Abstinence-Only Intervention Over 24 Months: A Randomized Controlled Trial With Young Adolescents


Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

This new federally funded study released last month provides the first clear evidence that abstinence-only education can delay sexual activity in young adolescents.

Published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, the study shows that youth placed in an abstinence-only curriculum were less likely to begin having sex within the next two years than participants placed in three other programs: a program that taught them safe sex only; a program that combined safe-sex teachings with encouraging abstinence; and a program that taught other healthy living choices not related to sex.

Roughly one-third of the students – sixth- and seventh-grade African-American students given the education interventions between 2001 and 2004 – placed in the abstinence-only course began having sex within two years, compared with around 52 percent who were in the safe-sex only class, about 42 percent from the abstinence and safe-sex combined class and about 47 percent in the healthy living class. There were 662 study participants in total.

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