Abstinence Education Adds Up

, Scott Thormaehlen, Leave a comment


A study published last year by the American Journal for Health Studies by Kennethy F. Ferraro (PhD) and Karis A. Pressler (MA), showed that students in abstinence-only education got higher math grades.

In the state of Indiana, the study matched 42 schools against each other looking at English, Math, and attendance rates. 21 of the schools taught abstinence-only education while the others did not. Ferraro and Pressler discovered that while skills in English and attendance rates did not differ in schools with or without abstinence-only education, grades in math were shown to have improved among sophomores who received the program.

The results of the 42 schools tested showed that schools with PEERS had 72.62 percent passing the math assessments and those without at a percentage of 67.14. Each year it showed an increase of 1.5 percent of those who pass both English and Math.

For years the study notes, most previous studies on abstinence programs focused solely on sexual behavior while ignoring the effects on academic performance, until now.

This new study shows that abstinence-only programs have produced: better GPAs and improved verbal and numerical aptitude skills. Other associated social benefits are stronger peer relations, positive youth development, and students are aware of the consequences of risky behavior, such as teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

The main purpose of this study aimed at determining whether or not abstinence-only programs promoted better academic performance, hindered performance, or if it affected it all. Among the positive results, students come away with a deeper respect towards the idea of marriage and of improving their own socioeconomic status.  Students of these programs are taught the principles and facts that desperately need to be conveyed to their age group, especially when it comes to child-rearing, priorities, and planning for their future. Abstinence-only programs provide inspirational and rational choices for America’s young to be equipped for a life not of regret or hardship, but of hope and responsibility.

The coupling of the program’s goal-oriented-focus and valuing marriage lead our young students down a road of “a more mature and studious approach to school life.”

One of the tools employed in the Indiana schools was Peers Educating and Encouraging Responsible Sexuality (PEERS). This uses high school juniors and seniors who relay the program’s message to the younger students. This approach feels less like adults lecturing students and confidence is shown in the younger students towards their older peers.

Scott Thormaehlen is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org