Support for abstinence among friends also fell substantially between the two follow-up surveys (Figure VI.3). Based on a scale measure ranging from 0 to 5, youth in the control group averaged a score of 3.50 at the time of the initial follow-up survey. This is equivalent to youth reporting that three to four of their five closest friends had attitudes or behaviors supportive of abstinence. By the time of the final follow-up survey, this measure fell sharply to a mean score of 1.96, indicating that on average fewer than half of their friends held attitudes supportive of abstinence.
Sources: Wave 2 and Wave 4 Surveys of Teen Activities and Attitudes (Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., 2000, 2005) administered to youth 6 to 12 months and 42 to 78 months, respectively, after enrollment in the Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Program study sample.
***p-value (of change shown) < 0.01; **p-value < 0.05; *p-value < 0.10, two-tailed test.
Youth in the program group reported a similar decline in friends support for abstinence, and the program had no impact on this measure, either in the short or longer term. At the time of the initial follow-up survey, youth in the program group reported slightly higher peer support for abstinence than those in the control group a mean of 3.58 compared to 3.50 but the difference was not significant at conventional levels (p-value = 0.15). By the time of the final follow-up survey, friends support had fallen slightly more among program group youth than control group youth, resulting in nearly identical levels of support between the two groups.