Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs. Impacts on Abstinence and Sexual Behavior

04/13/2007

  • Program and control group youth reported similar rates of sexual abstinence.

As seen in Table IV.1, about half of both control and program group youth reported remaining sexually abstinent, and a slightly higher proportion reported having been abstinent during the 12 months prior to the survey (55 percent of control group youth versus 56 percent of program group youth).  This small difference was not statistically significant.

None of the individual programs had statistically significant impacts on the rate of sexual abstinence, whether measured as either always remaining abstinent or being abstinent during the last 12 months.  Across the four sites, differences between the program and control groups were modest (five points or less) and not consistent in direction.  On both measures, ReCapturing the Vision displayed the largest positive difference between the groups, but neither difference was statistically significant.  Teens in Control and FUPTP displayed negative, but not statistically significant, differences on both measures.

Table IV.1.
Estimated Impacts on Abstinence from Sexual Intercourse, Overall and by Site
  Program Group
(Percentage)
Control Group
(Percentage)
Program-Control
Difference
(Percentage Points)
p-value
Four Programs Combined
Remained abstinent (always) 49 49 0 0.91
Abstinent last 12 months 56 55 1 0.76
My Choice, My Future!
Remained abstinent (always) 38 38 1 0.90
Abstinent last 12 months 45 44 1 0.79
ReCapturing the Vision
Remained abstinent (always) 44 40 5 0.32
Abstinent last 12 months 48 43 5 0.28
FUPTP
Remained abstinent (always) 60 62 -3 0.61
Abstinent last 12 months 65 67 -2 0.71
Teens in Control
Remained abstinent (always) 53 57 -4 0.34
Abstinent last 12 months 66 68 -2 0.64
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:  All estimates are based on weighted regression models.  For details on the covariates, see Appendix Table A.1.  Sample sizes and R-square statistics are in Appendix Tables A.2 and A.3, respectively.  Program-control difference may not equal difference in percentages due to rounding.

*** p-value (of program-control difference) < 0.01; ** p-value < 0.05; * p-value < 0.10, two-tailed test.

Program and control group youth also did not differ in the number of partners with whom they had sex.  Comparing the program and control groups overall, the distributions of the number of reported sexual partners are nearly identical (Figure IV.1).  About one-quarter of all youth in both groups had sex with three or more partners and about one in six had sex with four or more partners.  Distributions for each of the four sites, shown in Appendix Table A.4, likewise show no statistically significant differences between the program and control groups.

Figure IV.1.
Estimated Impacts on Reported Number of Sexual Partners

Estimated Impacts on Reported Number of Sexual Partners. See text.

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:  All estimates are based on weighted regression models.  For details on the covariates, see Appendix Table A.1.  Sample sizes and R-square statistics are in Appendix Tables A.2 and A.3, respectively.  Findings by site, as well as F-tests of the difference in the distribution of the outcome measure between control and program groups, are in Appendix Table A.4.

***p-value (of program-control difference) < 0.01; **p-value < 0.05; *p-value < 0.10, two-tailed test.

Programs did not affect the age at which sexually experienced youth first engaged in sexual intercourse (data not shown).  Based on a question asking non-abstinent youth the age at which they first had sex, the reported mean age at first intercourse is identical between the program and control groups, 14.9 years.[1]  This age is seemingly young, but recall that the sample is 16 years of age on average at the time of the final follow-up survey.

  • Program and control group youth did not differ in their expectations to abstain.

Forty percent of program group youth reported that they expected to abstain from sex until marriage compared with 37 percent of control group youth, a difference that is not statistically significant (Table IV.2).  This pattern is similar for the other two measures  expectations to abstain from sex through high school and as a teenager (until age 20).  On each measure, program group youth had slightly higher expectations than control group youth, but the differences are not statistically significant.

Table IV.2.
Estimated Impacts on Expectations to Abstain from Sexual Intercourse, Overall and by Site
  Program Group
(Percentage)
Control Group
(Percentage)
Program-Control
Difference
(Percentage Points)
p-value
Four Programs Combined
Expect to abstain through high school 60 58 2 0.60
Expect to abstain as a teenager 45 44 1 0.66
Expect to abstain until marriage 40 37 3 0.25
My Choice, My Future!
Expect to abstain through high school 56 50 5 0.48
Expect to abstain as a teenager 36 38 -2 0.66
Expect to abstain until marriage 30 34 -4 0.37
ReCapturing the Vision
Expect to abstain through high school 69 63 6 0.34
Expect to abstain as a teenager 51 45 6 0.22
Expect to abstain until marriage 41 34 7 0.13
FUPTP
Expect to abstain through high school 58 62 -4 0.49
Expect to abstain as a teenager 47 47 0 1.00
Expect to abstain until marriage 43 33 10 0.04**
Teens in Control
Expect to abstain through high school 56 57 -1 0.73
Expect to abstain as a teenager 48 48 0 0.96
Expect to abstainuntil marriage 45 49 -3 0.38
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:  All estimates are based on weighted regression models.  For details on the covariates, see Appendix Table A.1.  Sample sizes and R-square statistics are in Appendix Tables A.2 and A.3, respectively.  Program-control difference may not equal difference in percentages due to rounding.

 ***p-value (of program-control difference) < 0.01; **p-value < 0.05; *p-value < 0.10, two-tailed test.

Looking at the individual programs, one program, FUPTP, does display a large and statistically significant impact on expectations to abstain until marriage.  Specifically, 43 percent of youth in the program group for FUPTP reported that they expect to abstain from sex until marriage compared with 33 percent of corresponding control group youth  a statistically significant difference of ten percentage points (p-value = 0.04).  However, on the two other expectations measures, through high school and as teenagers, FUPTP displays no statistically significant impacts.  In fact, the estimated impacts are not positive (-4 and 0, respectively).  Findings for a second program, ReCapturing the Vision, are not statistically significant but the estimated impacts are somewhat large.  On the marriage measure, for example, 41 percent of program group in ReCapturing the Vision reported that they would abstain until marriage compared to 34 percent of control group youth.  The difference, seven percentage points, is not statistically significant (p-value = 0.13).

  • Program group youth were no more likely than control group youth to have unprotected sex.

Eight percent of all control group youth and seven percent of all program group youth reported having had sexual intercourse and not using a condom the first time (Figure IV.2).  There are similarly no differences when measured over the last 12 months  17 percent of youth in both groups reported having had sex in the last 12 months and using a condom only sometimes, and 4 percent reported having had sex in the last 12 months and never using a condom. (Figure IV.3).  For all youth, this latter result is equivalent to about half of recently sexually active youth not always using a condom in the last 12 months.  Across the individual programs, estimated impacts on unprotected sex, measured either at first intercourse or in the last 12 months, were likewise small and statistically insignificant (see Appendix Tables A.5 and A.6, respectively).

Figure IV.2.
Estimated Impacts on Unprotected Sex at First Intercourse

Estimated Impacts on Unprotected Sex at First Intercourse. See text.

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:  All estimates are based on weighted regression models.  For details on the covariates, see Appendix Table A.1.  Sample sizes and R-square statistics are in Appendix Tables A.2 and A.3, respectively.  Findings by site, as well as F-tests of the difference in the distribution of the outcome measure between control and program groups, are in Appendix Table A.5.

***p-value (of program-control difference) < 0.01; **p-value < 0.05; *p-value < 0.10, two-tailed test.

Figure IV.3.
Estimated Impacts on Unprotected Sex, Last 12 Months

Estimated Impacts on Unprotected Sex, Last 12 Months. See text.

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:  All estimates are based on weighted regression models.  For details on the covariates, see Appendix Table A.1.  Sample sizes and R-square statistics are in Appendix Tables A.2 and A.3, respectively.  Findings by site, as well as F-tests of the difference in the distribution of the outcome measure between control and program groups, are in Appendix Table A.6.

***p-value (of program-control difference) < 0.01; **p-value < 0.05; *p-value < 0.10, two-tailed test.

Programs likewise did not increase rates of unprotected sex when considering other forms of birth control (including those that only protect against pregnancy), such as birth control pills or Depo-Provera.  For example, in both groups, slightly more than half of youth had remained abstinent in the last 12 months (as reported above) and an additional 29 percent of youth reported that they had had sexual intercourse and always used a form of birth control (Figure IV.4).  This leaves only about one in six youth in both groups  15 percent in the program group and 16 percent in the control group  who reported that they had had sexual intercourse and had not always used a form of birth control.  Across the individual programs, these distributions varied but displayed no statistically significant program impacts (see Appendix Tables A.7 and A.8 for findings at first intercourse and last 12 months, respectively).

Figure IV.4.
Estimated Impacts on Birth Control Use, Last 12 Months

Estimated Impacts on Birth Control Use, Last 12 Months. See text.

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:  All estimates are based on weighted regression models.  For details on the covariates, see Appendix Table A.1.  Sample sizes and R-square statistics are in Appendix Tables A.2 and A.3, respectively.  Findings by site, as well as F-tests of the difference in the distribution of the outcome measure between control and program groups, are in Appendix Table A.8.

***p-value (of program-control difference) < 0.01; **p-value < 0.05; *p-value < 0.10, two-tailed test.

  • Programs had no impact on reported pregnancies, births, or STDs.

Very few youth in the study sample reported ever having been pregnant or ever having had an STD, and there were no statistically significant differences between the program and control groups on these measures (Table IV.3).  Ten percent of youth in both the program and control groups reported having been pregnant or gotten someone pregnant, and roughly half of them (five percent overall) reported that they had had a baby.  With respect to STDs, only a small fraction of youth in both groups, about five percent overall, reported being told by a doctor that they had an STD.  (Equal numbers of youth also reported being tested; not shown.)  Across the individual program sites, rates of all these outcomes varied modestly and displayed no statistically significant program impacts.

Table IV.3.
Estimated Impacts on Possible Behavioral Consequences of Teen Sex, Overall and by Site
  Program Group
(Percentage)
Control Group
(Percentage)
Program-Control
Difference
(Percentage Points)
p-value
Four Programs Combined
Ever been pregnant 10 10 1 0.68
Ever had a baby 5 5 -1 0.56
Ever had a (reported) STD 5 4 1 0.53
My Choice, My Future!
Ever been pregnant 6 6 0 0.84
Ever had a baby 2 2 -1 0.57
Ever had a (reported) STD 4 4 0 0.99
ReCapturing the Vision
Ever been pregnant 18 19 -1 0.82
Ever had a baby 8 12 -4 0.28
Ever had a (reported) STD 6 4 2 0.34
FUPTP
Ever been pregnant 10 8 2 0.48
Ever had a baby 5 5 0 0.83
Ever had a (reported) STD 6 4 2 0.41
Teens in Control
Ever been pregnant 8 6 2 0.38
Ever had a baby 3 2 1 0.27
Ever had a(reported) STD 4 5 -1 0.46
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:  All estimates are based on weighted regression models.  For details on the covariates, see Appendix Table A.1.  Sample sizes and R-square statistics are in Appendix Tables A.2 and A.3, respectively.  Program-control difference may not equal difference in percentages due to rounding.

***p-value (of program-control difference) < 0.01; **p-value < 0.05; *p-value < 0.10, two-tailed test.

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