222002 Virginity pledges and initiation of sexual intercourse: The Youth Asset Survey

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 8:50 AM - 9:10 AM

Diana Bensyl, PhD , Owcd, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Roy Oman, PhD , College of Public Health, Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Sara Vesely, PhD , Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Eleni Tolma, MPH, PhD , College of Public Health, Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Cheryl Aspy, PhD , College of Medicine, Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Janene Fluhr, MA , College of Public Health, Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Virginity pledges, commitments to remain a virgin until marriage, are advocated by certain adolescent pregnancy-prevention programs. Few studies have examined virginity pledges. This study prospectively examined associations between pledges and self-reported initiation of sexual intercourse (ISI). The Youth Assets Survey is a 5-wave, 4-year longitudinal study of youth-parent pairs to investigate youth risk behaviors and assets. Youth who reported no ISI at baseline or in wave 2 (N=627; mean age=13.7 years; 53% female; 44% white, 18% black, and 28% Hispanic) were included in the analysis. ISI was assessed to determine if statistically significant differences existed among youth taking a virginity pledge and ISI during waves 35. Data were stratified by youth age (1314, 1516, and 1719 years). Logistic regression analysis was conducted controlling for gender, race, parental education, parental income, and family structure. Sixty percent of youth (n=378) reported taking a virginity pledge. Fifty-five percent (n=344) reported ISI in waves 3-5. Youth aged 1516 years who pledged were significantly more likely to report no ISI (odds ratio=3.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.75.9) during waves 35 versus youth aged 1516 who did not pledge. Youth aged 1314 and 1719 years who pledged demonstrated no significant differences in ISI, compared with youth who did not pledge. Virginity pledges were associated with decreased reporting of ISI for youth aged 1516, although not for other age groups. Understanding the role of virginity pledges in adolescent pregnancy prevention will help ensure programs include best practices.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe both oral and written virgnity pledges Assess whether taking a virginity pledge was associated with initiation of sexual intercourse

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Sexual Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: i have education and experience of 15 years in the topic area
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.