Study Shows Comprehensive Sex Education Reduces Teen Pregnancy
A new study by researchers at the University of Washington found that students who receive comprehensive sex education are half as likely to become teen parents as those who receive abstinence-only sex education. According to the Seattle Times, this study marks the first time researchers have compared comprehensive sex education and abstinence-only education in a national sample of teenagers.
The study found no evidence that abstinence-only programs delay teen sexual activity. There was also no evidence that comprehensive sex education increased the likelihood of teen sex or boosted rates of sexually transmitted diseases, reports Reuters.
The report is published in the April 2008 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health. Researchers used data from a 2002 federal survey.
This study follows a series of reports released in 2007 that highlighted the ineffectiveness of abstinence only education programs in delaying or preventing teen sexual activity or pregnancy. In 2005-2006, the teen birth rate rose for the first time since 1991, according to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There has also been a surge in states rejecting federal abstinence-only funds. Iowa became the 17th state to do so last month.
Media Resources: Seattle Times 3/20/08; HealthDay News 3/24/08; Reuters 3/24/08