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  • Family Fact of the Week: Helping Teens to Wait

    Fact: According to the latest National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 53 percent of high school students have remained sexually abstinent. Indeed, in the last two decades, the share of abstinent teens has increased by nearly 15 percent. Moreover, two in three teens are currently abstinent.

    For teens, delaying sexual activity reduces the risk of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and emotional and psychological harm. When it comes to helping teens wait, social science research suggests that intact families, parental influences, and teen religiosity can protect teens.

    A new study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion explores the connection between teens’ participation in non-religious activities supported by religious organizations—such as athletic, drama, academic, and service programs but excluding Bible study, Sunday school, and other religious activities—and first sex. It examined over 2,000 teenagers across the nation who were virgins and, on average, 15 years old when they were first surveyed; they were interviewed again three years later.

    Specifically, the study finds that participation in such programs was associated with reduced odds of initiating sex, particularly for virgin teens who have engaged in intimate touching. For teens without such experience, those who said faith was important in their daily lives were more likely to have delayed sex. And for all teens, those whose parents attended religious services more frequently were less likely to have initiated sex as well.

    Previous research shows that, for teens, attending religious services, participating in religious youth activities, and allowing faith to play an important role in one’s daily life are all linked to reduced sexual activity. The new study adds to accumulating evidence. In particular, it finds that non-religious youth programs supported by religious organizations may help teens navigate tough decisions with a lasting positive impact on their lives.

    While some look to government solutions in addressing teen risk behaviors and their consequences, local faith organizations do much every day to serve and meet the specific needs of their communities. And research shows that their solutions bring about effective, positive change.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Family Fact of the Week: Helping Teens to Wait

    1. @Driveswift says:

      This says nothing about the decline in the practice of safe sex, leading to increased numbers of teen pregnancies and spread of STDs by those who were schooled in abstinence only programs, compared to those who were given a comprehensive sex education.

    2. Majority says:

      Not sure where you get your data that students who are taught abstinence are more likely to get pregnant and less likely to use condoms. There have been studies that say otherwise….The headline in this 10/11 Time magazine article states: Teen Sex Update: Fewer Teens Doing It, More Boys Using Condoms

      Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/10/13/teen-sex-up

    3. Ben says:

      This also says nothing about the increase in un-wed/extra-marital sexual activity, STDs, and "unwanted" pregnancies resulting in pre-birth murder, coincidental with the decline of moral standards in the U.S. as its population said "good-bye" to following God's laws and decided to make their own. Simple cause and effect really. No surprise there. This is only a temporary change for the better if no heart change takes place. Like duct taping a broken engine together: we might make it over the next hill. -"Good luck with that!" And may God have mercy on this once greater nation. :- }

    4. Bobbie says:

      that makes sense! An outbreak of "stds and pregnancies by those who were schooled in abstinence only programs." Certainly run by government controlled incompetence or it would be headline news or you're a tool.

      Absence makes the heart grow fonder. so does abstinence. Also enhances positive human qualities.

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