A recently released study shows that when sexual-risk avoidance messages are reinforced in classrooms, teens will delay beginning sexual activity.
The study, conducted by Choosing the Best Journey, followed two groups of high school freshmen over the course of one academic year, during which one group received eight sexual-risk avoidance messages in the classroom. At the end of the year, those students proved to be 1.5 times more likely to delay sexual activity than their peers.
When the sexual-risk avoidance message was not repeated, the researchers found, its effects tended to be neutralized by all the other sexual messages teens are bombarded with by the media.
Conducting the research in the classroom — where most sex-education lessons take place — set the study apart from other abstinence-education and contraceptive-centered research, said Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association.
"Schools that are eager to implement a sex-education strategy that helps their students avoid all the risks of teens ex should take this study seriously," she said. "Officials who are crafting sex-education policies at the state and federal levels should also take the results seriously."
The Obama administration is seeking to eliminate funding for abstinence-centered education in the FY 2013 budget.
Contact: Karla Dial