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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
4095.0: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - Board 7

Abstract #103682

Not doing it until "I do"?: A simulated experiment of the efficacy of sexual abstinence pledges

Janet E. Rosenbaum, AB, AM, Committee on Health Policy, Harvard University GSAS, 15 Leonard Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, 617-499-4362, jerosenb@fas.harvard.edu

A randomized experiment was simulated to determine whether virginity pledges delay sexual debut, using National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) data. Virginity pledgers were Mahalanobis matched with non-pledgers on pre-pledge characteristics; matched groups (n=285, 266) were compared five years post-pledge. Both pledgers and non-pledgers had sexual debut at age 18, and did not differ in their propensity to marry, cohabit, have premarital sex, pay or be paid for sex, or contract STDs. Pledgers who had sex reported fewer sexual partners than did non-pledgers, both lifetime partners (3.95 vs. 4.78, Wilcoxon p=.05) and partners in the past year (1.27 vs. 1.78, p=.02). Five years after reporting a virginity pledge, 84% of pledgers reported that they had never taken a virginity pledge; among pledgers who did not have sex, and so kept their pledge, 74% reported that they had never taken a virginity pledge. The sexual behavior of virginity pledgers does not differ significantly from that of comparable non-pledgers; within five years of pledging, most pledgers forget their virginity pledges or choose not to report them.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Sexual Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Statistical Advances and Applications -- Posters II

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA