Supporters believe there's an inconsistency when it comes to health curricula. However, when it comes to sex, teens are encouraged to practice safe sex, rather than no sex at all. The distribution of the Hispanic teen population across states was not normal: To the contrary, teens in states that prescribe more abstinence education are actually more likely to become pregnant Figure 2. Contraception , on the other hand, was not -- except in passing, according to Karras. Correlations We used non-parametric Spearman correlations to assess relationships between variables, and for normally distributed variables we also used parametric Pearson correlations, but these results showed the same trends and significance levels as the non-parametric correlations. The majority of U. Abstinence education proponents seek consistency when it comes to an adolescent's health and well-being.
Continued The Risks Teens Face The supporters of abstinence argue that it is the only infallible way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Results Among the 48 states in this analysis all U. Unfortunately, statistics indicate that one-fourth of year-olds have had sexual intercourse at least once, and more than half of year-olds are sexually active, according to the Institute. The data are reported as number of teen pregnancies, teen births or teen abortions per one thousand female teens between 15 and 19 years of age. Despite the widespread notion that abstinence education withholds information from students regarding methods of safe sex, supporters think it packs a powerful curriculum. As a result, we only report the results for the non-parametric correlations here. To advocates of the abstinence-only approach, these disturbing statistics make it abundantly clear that a simple message of "no sex outside of marriage" for teens is the only appropriate one for educators to take. However, this does not mean that the benefits of abstinence are not stressed in these programs or that they take a backseat. These data are based on median household income from the Current Population Survey for from the U. The program not only studies the physical risks of pre-marital sex, but it also teaches that adolescents can be affected psychologically. Comprehensive sex ed teaches teens how to protect themselves against disease and unintended pregnancies, by using contraceptives, such as condoms and birth control pills. Medicaid waivers for family planning Medicaid-funded access to contraceptives and family planning services has been shown to decrease the incidence of unplanned pregnancies, especially among low-income women and teens . The expectation is that higher levels of abstinence education will be correlated with higher levels of abstinence behavior and thus lower levels of teen pregnancy. To make matters more difficult, the programs in operation nationwide share the fundamental belief of no sex until marriage, but the curriculum varies by region, school district and sometimes by classroom. Teen sex may be considered a cultural norm, but abstinence advocates are battling to change the public's perception. Socio-economics To account for cost-of-living differences across the US, we used the adjusted median household income for for each state from the Council for Community and Economic Research: One of the biggest complaints about abstinence education is that it's unrealistic. According to a National Survey of Family Growth, on average, young people have sex for the first time at about age 17, but they don't marry until their mids. Proponents of abstinence-only education believe teaching teens about birth control and sexually-transmitted infections encourages them to try sex earlier, while critics feel that teaching teens comprehensive sex education will keep them safe from infections and unwanted pregnancies. Abstinence education proponents seek consistency when it comes to an adolescent's health and well-being. No sex is the safest sex. We assessed whether the waivers access to family planning services had an effect on our analysis of teen pregnancy and birth rates across states, specifically whether they could bias our analysis with respect to the effects of the different levels of abstinence education. Analyses of the two data sets gave essentially identical results. To account for the ethnic diversity among the teen populations in the different states in a multivariate analysis of teen pregnancy and birth rates, we included only the proportion of white and black teens in the state populations as covariates, because the Hispanic teen population numbers were not normally distributed see below. Ethnic composition We determined the proportion of the three major ethnic groups white, black, Hispanic in the teen population 15—19 years old for each state  , and assessed whether the teen pregnancy, abortion and birth rates across states were correlated with the ethnic composition of the teen population.
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Abstinence-Only vs. Sex Ed
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