Mathematica Findings Too Narrow
Results based on only 4 programs not reflective of the effectiveness of abstinence education as a whole
Washington, DC—The following is a statement by NAEA Executive Director Valerie Huber in reaction to the Mathematica evaluation study on abstinence education.
“It is important that the positive impact of abstinence education be recognized. Today's release by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. should not be generalized to all current abstinence education programs. This study examined only four out of a pool of over 700 Title V Programs. These narrow findings represent less than 1% of all Title V projects across the nation.
“Today's findings verify what most citizens and parents already know and that is abstinence education must begin early and be continuously reinforced throughout the adolescent years. Thoughtful policy makers should support increased efforts to strengthen this important message.
“There is overwhelming support from parents and teens for abstinence education—especially when people understand that the emphasis of abstinence education centers on building healthy relationships, enhancing self esteem and discussing the impact that sexual activity can have on a teen's future goals.
“This study began when Title V abstinence education programs were still in their infancy. The field of abstinence has significantly grown and evolved since that time and the results demonstrated in the Mathematica study are not representative of the abstinence education community as a whole.
“The recent March conference on the Evaluation of Abstinence Education, sponsored by the US Department of Health and Human Services featured at least 30 significant evaluation studies that demonstrated positive trends in teen abstinent behavior. Now that federal funding has been made available, quality evaluation of abstinence education programs will continue and help to identify proven practices in abstinence education. Currently, there are several significant studies that demonstrate that abstinence education programs are effective in delaying sexual debut, reducing partners once sexually active, and empowering sexually experienced students to embrace abstinent behavior.
“NAEA strongly maintains that the validity of the abstinence message does not change as a result of these findings. Instead, it reinforces the commitment of the abstinence profession to make continuous improvement in the delivery of the optimal sexual health message to youth.”
This statement and additional information is available at www.AbstinenceAssociation.org
NAEA also encourages that interested parties view a medical perspective on this study at www.medinstitute.org
To schedule an interview with NAEA Executive Director Valerie Huber, please contact Patra Stephan at 202.248.5420.