Tuesday, February 02, 2010


A recently released study on abstinence education has interesting results. The study is: Efficacy of a Theory-Based Abstinence-Only Intervention Over 24 Months
A Randomized Controlled Trial With Young Adolescents by John B. Jemmott III, PhD; Loretta S. Jemmott, PhD, RN; Geoffrey T. Fong, PhD Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(2):152-159. That is a lot of stuff, is it not? But I wanted to make sure they got the proper credit.

The study defined its objective as follows: To evaluate the efficacy of an abstinence-only intervention in preventing sexual involvement in young adolescents. That is relevant to the religious world, because we are constantly hammered with people claiming it does not work at all and all kids will have premarital sex regardless of the education.

The study was designed as a randomized controlled trial and was conducted in urban public schools. The participants were 662 African American students in 6th and 7th grade.

Interventions An 8-hour abstinence-only intervention targeted reduced sexual intercourse; an 8-hour safer sex–only intervention targeted increased condom use; 8-hour and 12-hour comprehensive interventions targeted sexual intercourse and condom use; and an 8-hour health-promotion control intervention targeted health issues unrelated to sexual behavior. Participants also were randomized to receive or not receive an intervention maintenance program to extend intervention efficacy.

The results showed that "abstinence only" education reduced sexual initiation risk. Fewer abstinence only class participants engaged in sex than in those who did not participate. The class participants also produced fewer reports of having multiple partners compared with the non-attenders.

The researchers stated their conclusion Theory-based abstinence-only interventions may have an important role in preventing adolescent sexual involvement.

Abstaining from sexual activity is difficult in today's world, where one is inundated by sex on television, in movies and in print, not to mention peer pressure. However, if we give up, especially as Christians, we cannot hope to maintain Biblical standards. Here we see that statistics show there is some effect even when the environment is secular rather than church groups. If it works to any extent in a secular setting, it should be even more effective in a church setting.
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