Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs. Changes in Youth Support for Abstinence Over Time

04/13/2007

Support for abstinence among sample youth declined notably between the initial and final follow-up surveys, regardless of whether they were in the control or program group (Figure VI.2).  Among youth in the control group, the mean score on a scale measuring views toward abstinence fell from 1.80 to 1.60.  This change is equivalent to one-fifth of control group youth moving one unit on this scale measure; for example, from responding that they agree with the series of statements supportive of sexual abstinence (shown in Table VI.2) to responding that they disagree.

Figure VI.2.
Youth Support for Abstinence Over Time

Youth Support for Abstinence Over Time. See text for explanation.

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.

 

Among youth in the program group, the decline in support for abstinence was even greater than among control group youth, leading program impacts on this measure to disappear over time.  At the time of the initial follow-up survey, program youth held views significantly more supportive of abstinence than youth in the control group (Figure VI.2; top panel).  However, by the time of the final follow-up survey (three to five years later), views among program group youth had fallen from a mean of 1.89 on the scale to a mean of 1.62  a larger drop than the one seen for the control group youth.  The result is that the difference in support for abstinence between the two experimental groups seen at the time of the initial follow-up survey is not statistically significant by the time of the final follow-up survey.

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