Abstinence Only Sex Education Proves Futile with Texas Teenagers

In the first evaluation of abstinence-only sex education programs across the state of Texas, researchers found that almost all high school aged students were more sexually active after abstinence education. The ongoing state-sponsored study conducted by Texas A&M University researchers examined five abstinence-only sex education programs in 24 Texas schools, reports the Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report.

The results are based on a 10-page questionnaire on sexual behavior filled out anonymously by junior high and high school students. “We didn’t find strong evidence of program effect,” said Buzz Pruitt, professor of health and kinesiology at Texas A&M University. “We didn’t find what many would like for us to find,” reports the Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report.

The Associated Press reports that among the findings, about 23 percent of the ninth-grade girls in the study already had sexual intercourse prior to receiving any abstinence education. The percentage grew to 28 percent after exposure to the program. A similar rise occurred among tenth-grade boys, with percentages increasing from 24 percent to 39 percent.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Pruitt cautioned that “overarching conclusions” about the abstinence-only programs should not be based on this data alone. Despite this assertion, scientists are welcoming Texas’ contribution to a field lacking in solid data. The federal government will spend $131 million this year on abstinence-only education programs. The federal government is currently conducting a multiyear study on abstinence programs and plans to publish a report in 2006.

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The Associated Press 1/31/05, The Dallas Morning News 1/29/05, The Kaiser Daily Reproductive Report 2/1/05

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