Skip to comments.Virginity Pledges May Help Postpone Intercourse Among Youth (RAND Corp. Study)
Posted on 07/01/2008 1:19:42 PM PDT by Stoat
June 10, 2008
Virginity Pledges May Help Postpone Intercourse Among Youth
Making a virginity pledge may help some young people postpone the start of sexual activity, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
Researchers found that adolescents who made pledges to remain virgins until they are married were less likely to be sexually active over the three-year study period than other youth who were similar to them, but who did not make a virginity pledge, according to the study published online by the Journal of Adolescent Health.
These findings do not suggest that virginity pledges should be a substitute for comprehensive sexual education programs, or that they will work for all kinds of kids said Steven Martino, the studys lead author and a psychologist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. But virginity pledges may be appropriate as one component of an overall sex education effort.
While several previous studies have examined the impact of virginity pledges, the RAND Health study was uniquely designed to account for pre-existing difference between pledgers and non-pledgers on factors such as religiosity, parenting and friendship characteristics. The study tested the impact of virginity pledges by comparing pledgers with young people who had not made a pledge, but shared other characteristics with pledgers.
Researchers surveyed 1,461 adolescent virgins aged 12 to 17 in 2001 and reinterviewed participants one and three years later. About one-fourth of the group reported during the initial survey that they had made a virginity pledge.
Forty-two percent of those who did not make virginity pledges but were otherwise similar to those who did started sexual intercourse within three years, while just 34 percent of those who made virginity pledges reported having sexual intercourse within the same period.
Making a pledge to remain a virgin until married may provide extra motivation to adolescents who want to delay becoming sexually active, Martino said. The act of pledging may create some social pressure or social support that helps them to follow through with their clearly stated public intention.
Some researchers have speculated that abstaining from intercourse might increase participation in other sexual activities, like oral sex. But the RAND study found that those who pledged were no more likely to engage in non-intercourse behaviors than comparable youth who did not take a pledge.
Waiting until you are older to have sex is good for teens from a health standpoint, Martino said. There are lots of reasons for more kids to wait until they are older.
People who delay sex until they are older are less likely to have unintended pregnancies or contract a sexually transmitted disease, and are better equipped emotionally for the experience, according to researchers.
Martino said virginity pledges are unlikely to be a viable means to encouraging all adolescents to delay the initiation of sexual intercourse.
Virginity pledges must be made freely for them to work, Martino said. If young people are coerced or are unduly influenced by peer pressure, virginity pledges are not likely to have a positive effect.
Previous studies have suggested that adolescents who make virginity pledges may be less likely to use condoms during their first act of sexual intercourse. In the RAND study, adolescents who made virginity pledges but eventually had sex did not report lower condom use. But the RAND study only asked participants about condom use in the past year, not whether they used condoms the first time they had sex.
The first virginity pledge program in the United States began in 1993 and now includes hundreds of churches, schools and colleges. Estimates of U.S. adolescents suggest that 23 percent of females and 16 percent of males have made a virginity pledge.
Other authors of the RAND study are Marc N. Elliott, Rebecca L. Collins, David E. Kanouse and Sandra H. Berry. The study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
RAND Health, a division of RAND, is the nations largest independent health policy research program, with a broad research portfolio that focuses on health care quality, costs and delivery, among other topics.
Virginity Pledges Among the Willing: Delays in First Intercourse and Consistency of Condom Use
Martino SC, Elliott MN, Collins RL, Kanouse DE, Berry SH. Journal of Adolescent Health, [ePub, June 5, 2008].
We examine longitudinal relationships between virginity pledging in adolescence and both sexual initiation and condom use. Prior studies have had mixed results and may not adequately control for prepledge differences between pledgers and nonpledgers.
Data came from a national sample of 12- to 17-year-olds surveyed in 2001 and reinterviewed 1 and 3 years later. Logistic regression models estimated the association between making a pledge and each outcome. Selection bias was reduced through propensity-score weighting and a rich set of demographic and psychosocial covariates.
Pledgers and nonpledgers differed substantially in preexisting characteristics. However, after propensity weighting and statistical controls, pledging was still associated with delayed intercourse. We estimate that in the absence of pledging 42.4% of virgins with characteristics indicating an inclination to pledge initiate intercourse within 3 years; in the presence of the pledge, 33.6% of such youth initiate intercourse. Among those who had sex during this period, pledging was unassociated with condom use. Among those who did not have sex during this period, pledging was unassociated with engagement in noncoital sexual behavior.
Making a virginity pledge appears to be an effective means of delaying sexual intercourse initiation among those inclined to pledge without influencing other sexual behavior; pledging does not appear to affect sexual safety among pledgers who fail to remain abstinent
Without additional data it's difficult to be sure from the sparse information presented, but I'm thinking that the study's inclusion of people who are not from supportive / religious backgrounds 'may' have reduced the final success figures to a point below what they might have been if the study had included only people from supportive and religious families...in other words, I'm thinking that the success rates may have been significantly higher if only people from a preexisting supportive and religious background had been studied.
Despite the sparse and incomplete nature of the available information, I thought that this might still be of interest to FReepers in that it reinforces what many of us have felt for some time.
Ohhhhhhh ....liberals are not going to like this at all. Seventeen is kind of old for this survey though since some girls get married between 18-20. I wonder if those were removed from the data.
I thought the RAND coproration just did studies on bombs.
The media responds to the survey.
Indeed, that's probably why the study, which is nearly a month old, was not trumpeted in the 'press' as they will do for studies which seem to bolster liberal positions on issues.
I only found out about this because I receive regular email alerts from RAND....I hadn't seen this in the 'press' at all.
There was a time in this nation (and not so long ago) that postponing sex until marriage was an expectation and a reality for many, if not most. Only in recent years with the advent of the “pill”, and liberals controlling entertainment and other media, has the expectation reversed itself. A strong effort has been made by the Left to convince teens and young adults that they are not normal unless they are having unmarried sex. Throw in Planned Parenthood, the sex education fiascos in our schools, liberal parents who want their kids to be cool, etc. and you have the mess that we’re in today. This article has some news worthy of celebrating.
They actually have a pretty wide range of research interests....this page directs you to their "core research areas"
OK, but this is still based on self-reported data with a few bells & whistles from the statistical end. Regression analysis has an error rate. There is no alternative verification for the self reports the subjects made.
Cynic & statistician.
Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.
It’s the devaluing of the family as an institution.
One of the Communist Goals for America.
What was the story the other day?
Christian men make better husbands and fathers? DUH...
They’ll probably do another study and conclude that girls with strong Christian fathers who lead their household are more likely to “postpone intercourse”.
Or, probably not, as this is not something they want widely known.
Agreed on all counts.
This article has some news worthy of celebrating.
I am delighted that you've found it to be worthwhile :-)
Yes, and it naturally raises the question of how many other reputable scientific studies from acclaimed and highly-respected sources they have also 'swept under the rug' merely because they didn't like the conclusions because the results didn't support the Leftist agenda.
If we get back to not letting them date or be unsupervised with boys until they are 16 then the numbers should go even higher. Kind of a parent pledge too. Today..what is there to look forward to at 16...a boyfriend...got one already...dating...been doing that since I was 12...getting married and having children...already got a couple and didn’t even need a husband.
Ever heard the phrase “dating is practice for divorce”?
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