Teen Abstinence Pledges

February 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm Leave a comment

Interesting article by By Alan E. Kazdin and Carlo Rotella:

One common intervention especially beloved by moral crusaders and supported by government funds asks teenagers to formally promise not to engage in behaviors that place them at risk. The focus has been on sexual activity. As far as we can tell, it doesn’t work, and occasionally it makes things worse. A recent study by Janet Rosenbaum of Johns Hopkins University evaluated the effect of pledging abstinence (the “virginity pledge”) versus not pledging among teenagers and then followed them for five years to evaluate the impact on sexual activity. Five years after the pledge, the results indicated that pledgers and nonpledgers did not differ in amount of premarital sex, sexually transmitted diseases, anal or oral sex, age of first sex, or number of sexual partners. Pledgers had used birth control and condoms less often than nonpledgers in the past year or at last sex. In short, the intervention was effective only in decreasing precautions taken during sex. As an ancillary but not irrelevant finding, five years after taking the virginity pledge 82 percent of the pledgers denied having ever pledged.



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Idiocracy in Action, II Good Ole Public Schools

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