For the third year, an evaluation of Why Know Abstinence Education's programs concludes that it is effective in increasing abstinence among teens, increasing awareness about the effects of teen sexual activity and decreasing risk behaviors among teens.
"The evaluation shows that months after program completion, 67.3 percent of participants maintain that they will abstain from sexual activity until marriage," said Lesley Scearce, executive director of Why Know. "This shows that teens are not only retaining the information but also adopting the concepts and changing behavior."
Why Know's ongoing program Road to Excellence experienced even more success. Of the 600 students who were part of the weekly support group last year, 90 percent remained abstinent -- 40 percent higher than the national average.
Reports on the study released Wednesday by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy suggest that abstinence education is ineffective in delaying or reducing teen sexual activity, yet the study's author included this note in his findings: "Even though there does not exist strong evidence that any particular abstinence program is effective at delaying sex or reducing sexual behavior, one should not conclude that all abstinence programs are ineffective. After all, programs are diverse, fewer than ten rigorous studies of these programs have been carried out, and studies of two programs have provided modestly encouraging results."
According to Ms. Scearce, "This tells us that abstinence education programs across the country need to invest in program evaluations. We at Why Know have acknowledged yearly evaluation of our curriculum as an essential tool for continued growth and achievement, and are planning to double our spending on evaluation in 2008."
Other key findings from Why Know's 2006 evaluation include:
93.8% believe the best way to avoid being a teen parent is to wait until marriage to have sex.
74.5 % believe it is important to be married before they have sex.
90.6 % believe saying 'no' to teen sex can help them achieve their future goals.
79.6% said not having sex makes them feel better about themselves.
66.9 % believed using drugs and/or alcohol makes teens more likely to have sex.
81.4 % said that after having Why Know's program, they can say 'no' to risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol use.
The evaluation of Why Know's curriculum was conducted by Dr. David Edwards and Dr. Stephanie Bellar at UTC. For more information about the complete evaluation please call 899-9188 or visit the Why Know website at whyknow.org.
About Why Know:
Why Know Abstinence Education, Inc. is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Chattanooga. Why Know works closely with schools, churches, and civic organizations to equip teens to be sexually abstinent by giving in-depth knowledge, ongoing support and life skills for a successful future. Why Know serves 57 schools in the Chattanooga and North Georgia area, and its curriculum is used in 40 states and 11 countries.