Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs. Analytic Methods

04/13/2007

For each outcome measure, program impacts were estimated as the difference in regression adjusted mean values between the program and control groups. These impacts were estimated both overall and for each site individually. The overall estimate was obtained simply by averaging the estimated impacts for each of the four individual sites. This approach was preferred to weighting each site according to the size of its sample, which would have arbitrarily given some sites (most notably Teens in Control) more importance when computing a pooled estimate.

 

Table III.3.
Outcome Variables
Variable Definition
Measures of Risk Behavior and Behavioral Consequences
Sexual Abstinence and Sexual Activity
Remained Abstinent Binary variable: equals 1 if youth reported never having had sexual intercourse; equals 0 if youth reported having had sexual intercourse (ever).
Abstinent Last 12 Months Binary variable: equals 1 if youth reported not having had sex in last 12 months; equals 0 if youth reported having had sex in last 12 months.
Number of Sexual Partners Categorical variable, with five categories: (1) remained abstinent; (2) one sexual partner ever; (3) two sexual partners ever; (4) three sexual partners ever; and (5) four or more sexual partners ever.
Age at First Intercourse Continuous variable, equal to the age that youth who have not remained abstinent report having first had intercourse. Youth who have remained abstinent are assigned missing values (dropped from the analysis).
Expectations for Future Behavior
Expect to Abstain Through High School Binary variable: equals 1 if youth reported expecting to abstain through high school (including those who have previously had sex); equals 0 otherwise. Youth who were 18 or older at the time of the survey were dropped from the measure.
Expect to Abstain as a Teenager Binary variable: equals 1 if youth reported expecting to abstain until age 20 (including those who have previously had sex); equals 0 otherwise. Youth who were 20 or older at the time of the survey were dropped from the measure.
Expect to Abstain Until Marriage Binary variable: equals 1 if youth reported expecting to abstain until married (including those who have previously had sex); equals 0 otherwise.
Risks of STDs and Pregnancy
Unprotected Sex at First Intercourse Categorical variable, with three categories: (1) remained abstinent; (2) had sex and reported using a condom the first time; (3) had sex and reported not using a condom the first time.
Unprotected Sex Last 12 Months Categorical variable, with four categories: (1) abstinent last 12 months; (2) had sexual intercourse last 12 months and always used condom; (3) had sexual intercourse last 12 months and sometimes used condom; and (4) had sexual intercourse last 12 months and never used condom.
Birth Control at First Intercourse Categorical variable, with three categories: (1) remained abstinent; (2) had sex and reported using birth control the first time; (3) had sex and reported not using birth control the first time.
Birth Control Last 12 Months Categorical variable, with four categories: (1) abstinent last 12 months; (2) had sexual intercourse last 12 months and always used birth control; (3) had sexual intercourse last 12 months and sometimes used birth control; and (4) had sexual intercourse last 12 months and never used birth control.
Possible Consequences of Teen Sex
Ever Been Pregnant Binary variable: equals 1 if respondent reported ever having been (or gotten someone) pregnant; equals 0 otherwise.
Ever Had a Baby Binary variable: equals 1 if respondent reported ever having had a baby; equals 0 otherwise.
Ever Had a (Reported) STD Binary variable: equals 1 if youth reported that a doctor said s/he had an STD; equals 0 otherwise.
Other Risk Behaviors
Smoked Cigarette (Past Month) Binary variable: equals 1 if respondent reported having smoked a cigarette at least once in last month; equals 0 otherwise.
Drank Alcohol (Past Month) Binary variable: equals 1 if youth reported having drunk alcohol at least once in last month; equals 0 otherwise.
Used Marijuana (Ever) Binary variable: equals 1 if youth reported ever having used marijuana; equals 0 otherwise.
Potential Mediators of Teen Sexual Activity
Ability to Identify STDs
Overall Identification of STDs Continuous (scale) variable: the percent of 13 diseases that are correctly identified as actual STDs (such as chlamydia) or false STDs (such as diabetes).
Identification of True STDs Continuous (scale) variable: the percent of the nine actual STDs correctly identified.
Identification of False STDs Continuous (scale) variable: the percent of the four non-STDs correctly identified.
Understanding of Pregnancy and STD Risks
Knowledge of Unprotected Sex Risks Continuous (scale) variable: the percent correct of two items, which asked the respondent whether one instance of unprotected sex can result in (1) a pregnancy, (2) an STD.
Knowledge of STD Consequences Continuous (scale) variable: the percent correct of three items, which asked the respondent whether STDs can cause (1) cancer, (2) fertility problems, (3) increased risk for asthma.
Perceived Effectiveness of Condoms
Perceived Effectiveness at Preventing Pregnancy Categorical variable: respondent reported that when used correctly, condoms either usually, sometimes, or never prevent pregnancy, or that s/he was unsure.
Perceived Effectiveness at Preventing HIV Categorical variable: respondent reported that when used correctly, condoms either usually, sometimes, or never prevent HIV, or that s/he was unsure.
Perceived Effectiveness at Preventing Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Categorical variable: respondent reported that when used correctly, condoms either usually, sometimes, or never prevent chlamydia and gonorrhea, or that s/he was unsure.
Perceived Effectiveness at Preventing Herpes and HPV Categorical variable: respondent reported that when used correctly, condoms either usually, sometimes, or never prevent herpes and HPV, or that s/he was unsure.
Perceived Effectiveness of Birth Control Pills
Perceived Effectiveness at Preventing Pregnancy Categorical variable: respondent reported that when used correctly, birth control pills either usually, sometimes, or never prevent pregnancy, or that s/he was unsure.
Perceived Effectiveness at Preventing HIV Categorical variable: respondent reported that when used correctly, birth control pills either usually, sometimes, or never prevent HIV, or that s/he was unsure.
Perceived Effectiveness at Preventing Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Categorical variable: respondent reported that when used correctly, birth control pills either usually, sometimes, or never prevent chlamydia and gonorrhea, or that s/he was unsure.
Perceived Effectiveness at Preventing Herpes and HPV Categorical variable: respondent reported that when used correctly, birth control pills either usually, sometimes, or never prevent herpes and HPV, or that s/he was unsure.
Source: Wave 4 Survey of Teen Activities and Attitudes (Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., 2005), administered to youth 42 to 78 months after enrolling in the Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Program study sample.

Note: See Appendix C for the wording of the individual survey questions (and responses) on which the measures are based.

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