Heritage Foundation: “Abstinence Education: Assessing the Evidence”

Christine Kim and Robert E. Rector report from the Heritage Foundation:

. . . Opponents of abstinence education contend that these programs fail to influence teen sexual behav­ior. At this stage, the available evidence supports neither this assessment nor the wholesale dismissal of authentic abstinence education programs . . .

This paper discusses 21 studies of abstinence education. Fifteen studies examined abstinence programs that were primarily intended to teach abstinence. Of these 15 studies, 11 reported posi­tive findings. The other six studies analyzed virgin­ity pledges, and of these six studies, five reported positive findings. Overall, 16 of the 21 studies reported statistically significant positive results, such as delayed sexual initiation and reduced levels of early sexual activity, among youths who have received abstinence education. Five studies did not report any significant positive results.

In addition to these 21 studies, five other studies have been cited in various reviews of abstinence pro­gram evaluations.However, these five studies are not fully discussed in this paper for several reasons.

Related post: Studies Demonstrate Abstinence Education Works