10-Year Study Seen to Undercut Abstinence Emphasis
A federally mandated study showing that four sexual-abstinence education programs were ineffective in changing the sexual behavior of teenagers is likely to play a prominent role as lawmakers prepare to decide this summer whether to renew funding for abstinence education.
Opponents of the programs say the authoritative study, conducted over 10 years by Mathematica Policy Research Inc., of Princeton, N.J., is a decisive blow to what they regard as an ill-conceived effort at social policy. But some supporters of abstinence programs say they envision that the programs could incorporate the results of the study released this month and survive in a more effective form.
Researchers examined two rural and two urban communities where students received federally financed abstinence education in the elementary and early middle school grades. Half of the more than 2,000 students studied remained abstinent. But, among the students who had sex, the median age of first intercourse, 14 years and 9 months, was about the same, regardless of whether the student had attended an abstinence program. ( "Abstinence Programs Don’t Work, Largest Study to Date Concludes," ...
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