A summary of the study, “Can Abstinence Work: An Analysis of the Best Friends Program,” is available online from the Best Friends Foundation.
Girls in the District of Columbia public schools who participated in an abstinence program were far less likely to have sex, or to use alcohol, drugs, or tobacco, compared with their nonparticipating peers.
The study, conducted by Rockville, Md.-based independent researcher Robert Lerner, was published in last week’s issue of the journal Adolescent and Family Health. It used district data from 3,000 middle school students in the Washington public schools, including some who participated in abstinence programs that used curricula developed by the Best Friends Foundation, a Washington-based group. It found that girls who took part in the Best Friends program were only about one-seventh as likely to have sex compared with their peers, half as likely to drink or smoke, and one-eighth as likely to use illegal drugs.