The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5201.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 2:30 PM

Abstract #51811

Analysis of four years of abstinence-only human sexuality programs in Maryland

Larry K. Olsen, DrPH, CHES, Associate Dean, Academics and Research, New Mexico State University, College of Health and Social Sciences, P. O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001, 605-646-3526, and Daniel Agley, EdD, Department of Health Science, Towson University, 8000 York Road, Towson, MD 21252-0001.

Youth are engaging in sexual activities that lead to numerous social and health problems. The purpose of this presentation is to present the cumulative results of four years of evaluation of abstinence-only programs in Maryland. Based upon pilot studies, two forms of a valid and reliable measurement instrument were developed. These instruments were administered, pre-post, to over 800 students who participated in after-school, abstinence-only programs. Approximately 400 students participated in both pre- and post-tests. Overall knowledge, attitude, and practice scores, pre-post, showed no significant differences. Over 80% of the population indicated at the pretest, they chose to remain sexually abstinent during the year prior to when they completed the pre-test, but this dropped to 70% at the time of the post-test. There was a 3% increase in the number of students who indicated they definitely would remain abstinent for the remainder of the year, but the percentage of students who indicated they would probably remain abstinent until the completed high school, or got married, decreased. There was a slight, but not significant increase in the percentage of students who indicated they could stick to a decision not to have sex, regardless of pressure they may receive to have sex. Approximately 25% of the respondents indicated it was OK to have sex with a serious boyfriend or girfriend, while 65% indicated it was not OK to try to talk someone into having sex. In general, students exposed to these programs had positive additudes toward abstaining from sexual activity prior to entering the programs, and these attitudes seemed to be reinforced through the programs.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Sexuality, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Abstinence, Safe Sex, and the Quality of Evidence

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA