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Effectiveness of an abstinence-only intervention sited in neighborhood community centers

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Abstract:

Choices Enhanced is a community-based demonstration and evaluation project targeting inner-city youth, ages nine to 15 at pretest, in Syracuse, New York. The project's evaluation design is a randomized field trial, and the intervention uses an education and youth development curriculum designed to deter unmarried teen pregnancy. Findings reported here are from early in the third year of the project. The intervention was designed to provide each treated subject 24 hours of intervention contact. The project's central goal is to delay the onset of sexual intercourse among unmarried-youth subjects. This was to be achieved through: (1) strengthening commitments to the values of abstinence and the importance of marriage; (2) informing youth more fully with respect to the risks and consequences of youth sexual intercourse outside marriage; (3) strengthening the ability to resist social pressures to have intercourse; and (4) encouraging restraint with regard to future behavior. Hypotheses tested specifically address the goals listed above, using linear and logistic regression methods. The magnitude of estimated treatment effects was modest, and change was sometimes not in the expected direction. At a 0.05 significance level, none of the estimated intervention effects were found to be statistically significant.

Keywords: abstinence-only intervention; community center-based program; unmarried youth

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10796126.2011.532481

Affiliations: 1: Department of Public Administration, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA 2: School of Social Work, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA 3: Catholic Charities of Onondaga County, Syracuse, NY, USA

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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