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New data due abstinence program.

A highly anticipated report indicates that children ages 12-18 who undergo the controversial Abstinence-Until-Marriage education programs support abstinence. However, it is questionable if the youths in the program will actually abstain from sexual activity.

Mathematica Policy Research Inc., the group conducting the federally funded study, claims that former studies on the subject lacked credible findings due to design limitations. "This is the first report where we have hard data saying these are the impacts of these programs," says Chris Trenholm, a senior researcher and project director for the study. But there is no answer as to how effective the program is regarding if and how youths refuse sex nor how they communicate with parents.

Growing in school districts nationwide, Abstinence-Until-Marriage programs go beyond educating abstinence to students. It extends the curriculum to include topics like dealing with peer pressure and avoiding risky behavior such as using drugs and alcohol. The cost of these programs vary. Estimates of the program's effectiveness on sexual activity will be available in 2006. www.mathematica-mpr.com

KEY FINDINGS

After collecting data on youths for a year, the report found the following:

* Increased knowledge on issues such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases

* Increased likelihood to pledge to abstain from sex until marriage

* Increasing number of views that are more supportive of abstinence.
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Title Annotation:Curriculum Update
Author:Griffin, Andrea
Publication:District Administration
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2005
Words:217
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