Study Shows Abstinence Education Reduces Teenage Sexual Behavior

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 15, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Study Shows Abstinence Education Reduces Teenage Sexual Behavior Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 15, 2006

Philadelphia, PA ( — A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania finds that teaching abstinence education to young teenagers in public schools reduces their sexual behavior. The study found that abstinence helped delay the starting point at which teenagers begin having sexual relations.

The Penn researchers studied 662 African-American students in 6th and 7th grade from inner-city schools in Philadelphia.

They found that those who were taught abstinence were less likely to have had sexual relations in a 24 month followup compared to those who were taught about safer sex through the use of condoms but didn’t mention abstinence.

At the International AIDS Conference in Toronto yesterday, former President Bill Clinton echoed the claims made by abortion advocates that abstinence programs make teens less likely to use condoms when they do start having sex.

But the University of Pennsylvania study found the opposite to be true.

"It did not reduce intentions to use condoms, it did not reduce beliefs about the efficacy of condoms, it did not decrease consistent condom use and it did not decrease condom use at last sexual [encounter]," lead author John Jemmott, of the University of Pennsylvania, told the CanWest News Service.

"There aren’t any studies that show that children are less likely to use condoms as a result of an abstinence intervention. I’ve looked in the literature, there are no studies that show that," Jemmott said.

The kids involved the study were between the ages of 10 and 15 and were split evenly between boys and girls. Some 23 percent said they had had sex before the study began.

Jemmott’s study involved teaching kids not to have any kind of sexual relations until later in their life when they would be ready to handle the consequences of it.

"We caused them to have more positive attitudes towards abstinence and the negative consequences of engaging in sexual activity at an early age, including less likely to achieve one’s career goals," he said.