Five Years of Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education: Assessing the Impact [PDF]
Name of Programs: Family Accountability Communicating Teen Sexuality (FACTS) and/or Why Am I Tempted? (WAIT)*
Federal Funding Source: Section 510(b) of Title V of the Social Security Act (entitlement for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs established under "Welfare Reform")
Funding Allocated: In federal fiscal year 2003, Nebraska received $246,177 in federal Title V funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. The state provided an additional $184,633 to support the full abstinence-only initiative, bringing the total public funds allocated to $430,810. Advocates for Youth was unable to ascertain the amount of federal and state funds allocated to Nebraska's WAIT and FACTS programs.
Program Reach/Program Components: Nebraska's abstinence-only program is composed of a media campaign and programs administered by sub-grantees, using a variety of abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula. FACTS and WAIT are two of the abstinence-only curricula used with seventh and eighth graders. FACTS is a "values and character-based educational program that teaches about premarital abstinence as a health issue and human development goal." Its goal is to increase teens' knowledge and parent-teen communication regarding sexuality, including emotional aspects, consequences, managing relationships and dating experiences, making decisions, and planning the future. The program includes youth as role models. WAIT focuses on "love education rather than sex education." Its goal is to teach respect for self and others, build assertiveness, and help students analyze the difference between needs and desires. Each curriculum is supplemented with Unmasking Sexual Con Games, a curriculum that "teaches youth about 'groomers' who manipulate the emotions of the 'victim' to gain control."
Target Population: 7th and 8th graders
Timing of Program/Evaluation: 1998 through 2001
Evaluation Design: This evaluation was part of a larger, ongoing, longitudinal, quasi-experimental evaluation study designed to measure the impact of the abstinence-only curricula on seventh and eighth graders enrolled in two schools that use WAIT or FACTS. The current evaluation reported on short-term outcomes, comparing treatment youth with seventh and eighth graders from three schools without abstinence-only curricula or funding. Students in the comparison group received only their regular health and sexuality curricula.
Pre- and posttest surveys were administered in treatment and comparison communities. The posttest was conducted four months after the pretest (immediately after the conclusion of the abstinence-only program). Mean scores were compared for treatment (n=87 at pretest; n=85 at posttest) and comparison (n=45 at pretest; n=40 at posttest) groups. McNemar's statistical tests were used to determine changes in responses due to the intervention.
Findings: Evaluation revealed no statistically significant change for the treatment group from pre- to posttest on attitudes about
premarital sex or on intentions to engage in premarital sexual activity. For example, statistical analysis of responses from treatment group participants on the statement "It is okay for people my age to have sexual intercourse" revealed no significant change from pre- to posttest. For the question "Do you think that you will have sexual intercourse while you are an unmarried teenager?" pretest/posttest analysis of treatment group responses again revealed no statistically significant change. Both treatment and comparison group subjects expressed favorable attitudes towards abstinence at pre- and at posttest, although treatment group expressed somewhat more favorable attitudes on one item (commitment to abstinence until marriage). Attitudes favorable to abstinence could not be attributed to the intervention.
Significant Quote from Authors of the Evaluation Study:
- Abstinence-only education did not significantly change young adolescents' (7th and 8th grades) values and attitudes about premarital sexual activity, nor did it significantly change their intentions whether or not to engage in premarital sexual activity. [p. 12]
* FACTS and WAIT are two of the curricula used by sub-grantees of Nebraska's abstinence-only program, administered by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Nebraska's program includes a media campaign and programs implemented by six sub-grantees, using a variety of curricula. Advocates for Youth found published evaluation results only for Nebraska's WAIT and FACTS programs.
Return to Introduction
Hauser D. Five Years of Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education: Assessing the Impact. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, 2004.