States with more-comprehensive sexuality education courses tend to have slightly lower teenage birthrates, but that influence pales compared with the effect of religious and political factors, a new study concludes.
Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of California, Los Angeles, used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the link between the number of births to teenagers and the sexuality education programs in 24 states from 1997 to 2005.
That link proved to be insignificant, though, when other factors are considered, such as the religiousness of a state’s residents or the strictness of its abortion laws. Birthrates were higher on average for states deemed to be more politically and religiously conservative, according to the study published this month in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
A version of this article appeared in the February 22, 2012 edition of Education Week as Sexuality Education