Published Online: September 13, 2005
Published in Print: September 14, 2005, as Abstinence Program Shows Mixed Results

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Abstinence Program Shows Mixed Results

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A study of more than 2,000 Ohio middle school students suggests that an abstinence-only program had a limited effect in preventing sexual activity: It didn’t keep adolescents from having first-time sex, but it may have helped reduce the number of sexual partners that sexually active students have later on.

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The study was published in the September-October issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior. For information about obtaining a copy of the study, go to www.ajhb.org. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader .

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland tracked down middle school students from that city and some of its suburbs five months after they had taken part in a school-based program called For Keeps, which encourages students to refrain from sexual activity until marriage. Compared with students who had not taken part in For Keeps, the study found, participating students were no more likely to refrain from having first-time sex or from engaging in sexual activity at all during the follow-up period.

But students who were already sexually active before the abstinence lessons had fewer partners afterward than did similarly experienced nonparticipating students.

Vol. 25, Issue 03, Page 11

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