Performance Improvement 2007. What Were the Short-term Impacts of Providing a Life Skills Education Component to Middle and High School Youth?

01/01/2007

Summary:

This study was part of a larger evaluation of a select group of abstinence education programs authorized and funded under Section 510 of the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant program in the Social Security Act.

The study examined the short-term effects on the target student audiences of providing a life skills (e.g.: marriage and the family, coping with employment issues, dealing with adversity) education component to middle and high school youth in Edgefield, South Carolina. All the youth participating in the Life Skills Education Component also participated in other components of a broader training program ("Heritage Keepers®"), specifically, the core abstinence education component. This study examined the impact that the program had on students, over and above the impact of other components of the Heritage Keepers® Program.

Researchers found that the Life Skills Education Component had a positive impact on the whether the students viewed the rest of the program services as helpful. However, the education component did not increase participation by the youth in health, family life, and sex education classes. The program generally did not affect the intermediate outcomes thought to be related to teen sexual activity. The one exception was a positive impact on support for abstinence among middle school youths' five closest friends. This last finding was consistent with the program's goals of influencing youth peer groups. However, there were no impacts on this measure for high school youth or on other measures of peer influence and relations examined.

Report Title: First Year Impacts of the Heritage Keepers Life Skills Education Component http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/05/abstinence2/index.htm
Agency Sponsor: ASPE, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Kelsey, Meredith, 202-690-6652
Performer: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.; Princeton, NJ
PIC ID: 8481

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