Parent Resources

What does the research show ?

“Schools should be in the business of promoting what is healthy for students. Schools do not advocate: “Don’t smoke. But if you do, only smoke low tar cigarettes with industrial-strength filters.” Nor do we hand out such cigarettes to students who choose to smoke anyway. The same is true of drug use. Schools promote “Don’t smoke.” “Don’t use illegal drugs.” “Don’t use alcohol.” Schools take this stand because of the health risks of these activities. The same should be true of sexual activity outside a mutually faithful, monogamous, life-long relationship. Promoting condom use outside a marriage is inconsistent with this stance. The health risks are just too great…” [Sexual Health Today, The Medical Institute for Sexual Health]

“American adolescents stand a better chance of avoiding risky behavior when they experience and express strong connections to their school…students who feel connected to their school report lower levels of emotional distress…A feeling of connectedness to school also protects youth from cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use… Feeling a high level of connectedness to school also is associated with a delay in first sexual intercourse…Other factors associated with a modest delay in sexual debut include attending a…school with high overall average daily attendance…Schools’ attendance records are associated with only one outcome, the onset of sexual intercourse” “Measures of classroom size, teacher training, and parent involvement with school appear unrelated to adolescents’ health behaviors and emotional well-being.” “Teens who have high self-esteem are more likely to be protected from emotional distress. Having a good grade point average is also associated with less emotional distress” in grades 7-12 and is associated with protection from suicidal thoughts and attempts in grades 7-8…”When adolescents report that they have taken a pledge to remain a virgin until marriage, they are more likely to delay intercourse. Other protective factors include…a higher grade point average.” “Students who have low grades and those held back a grade have, in varying degrees, higher levels of emotional distress, increased substance use, more involvement in violence, and an earlier sexual debut…school failure has significant health- compromising consequences.” [“Reducing the Risk: Connections That Make a Difference in the Lives of Youth”, monograph prepared by Blum & Rinehart, University of MN, based on Add Health data, “Protecting adolescents from harm: Findings from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health”, published in JAMA (10 Sept 97), by M. Resnick et al] “When peers have low educational expectations and foresee few opportunities, the chances of teenage sexual activity, pregnancy, and childbearing increase.” [Chilman 1980, “Social and psychological research concerning adolescent childbearing: 1970-1980”, Journal of Marriage and Family 42:793-805; Klein, 1978, “Antecedents of teenage pregnancy”, Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology 1151-1159]

The research also shows that sexually explicit knowledge and birth control methodology do not lower teen sexual activity. “Recent trends in teenage pregnancy and childbearing also cast doubt on the import of knowledge. Over the same years that there were increases in teenage pregnancy and out-of-wedlock births, there were increases in knowledge about sex and birth control.” [Hanson, Myers, Ginsburg, “The Role of Responsibility and Knowledge in Reducing Teenage Out-Of-Wedlock Childbearing”, Journal of Marriage and Family, May 1987, 49:241-256; included these research studies: Orr 1982, Zelnik, 1981, Zelnik and Kim 1982]