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Effectiveness of Abstinence-only Intervention in Middle School Teens

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Objectives: To examine effectiveness of abstinence-until-marriage curriculum on knowledge, beliefs, efficacy, intentions, and behavior. Methods: Nonrandomized control trial involving 2069 middle school students with a 5-month follow-up. Results: Intervention students reported increases in knowledge and abstinence beliefs, but decreases in intentions to have sex and to use condoms. Intervention did not influence sexual initiation or condom use; however, intervention students who had sex during the evaluation period reported fewer sexual episodes and fewer partners than did controls. Conclusions: Abstinence-until-marriage interventions can influence knowledge, beliefs, and intentions, and among sexually experienced students, may reduce the prevalence of casual sex. Reduction in condom use intentions merits further study to determine long-term implications.

Keywords: abstinence; adolescent; interventions; sexual behavior

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Center for Health Promotion Research, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 2: Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Division of Community Health, Cleveland, OH

Publication date: September 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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