Summary: Abstinence-only Program Prevents Pregnancy Through High School

While going through a process of emotional growth in adolescence, teens frequently get involved in risky sexual behaviors that expose them to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Researchers have found that abstinence-only sex education intervention programs are effective in the prevention of unintended adolescent pregnancies.

  • While going through a process of emotional growth in adolescence, teens frequently get involved in risky sexual behavior that exposes them to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Several studies have dealt with the challenging issue of preventing adolescent pregnancy and some of them have achieved satisfactory results. However, these studies are faulty in two aspects: 1) they are merely observational studies and 2) they promote sex and the use of birth control. There have been other programs developed that promote ABSTINENCE, rather than birth control, as a part of sex education. With that goal in mind, the authors of the study described here started a sex education program for adolescent girls in a public high school located in San Bernardo, a community of Santiago, Chile. The program was applied as a randomized, prospective, controlled trial that compared an abstinence-centered intervention with no intervention. The objective of the study was to contrast pregnancy rates among female students who participated in the sex education program (TeenSTAR) with those of other female students who did not take part in the program. As a result of the study, researchers found that the abstinence-only TeenSTAR sex education intervention applied was effective in the prevention of unintended adolescent pregnancies. In addition, if applied during the first year of high school, the impact of TeenSTAR on pregnancy prevention can extend for at least 4 years of high school.1

1Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention: An Abstinence-Centered Randomized Controlled Intervention in a Chilean Public High School, Journal of Adolescent Health, 2005, pp. 64-69.

 

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