Talk:Virginity pledge

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December 2008 Study counters statements given

According to a December, 2008 study conducted by the American Association of Pediatrics and Harvard University and published in the journal Pediatrics the statements given by the Heritage foundation are not statistically accurate. The study showed that 5 years after taking the pledge

  • 82% Denied taking the pledge
  • Pledgers and non-pledgers did not differ in rates of premarital sex, STDs, or oral/anal intercourse rates
  • Total partners over the previous year was only 0.1 fewer for pledgers, but over the course of a life time, pledgers and non-pledgers had the same rates of sexual partners

More over, the study showed that pledgers had significantly riskier sex in that birth control rates were much lower than non-pledgers

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20081229/virginity-pledge-doesnt-stop-teen-sex Rosenbaum, J. Pediatrics, January 2009; vol 123: e110-e120.

I wait for approbation prior to adding this to the actual article. --AndrasK 21:50, 29 December 2008 (EST)

That was not a new study; it simply relooked at the data that already existed and started with a population of only all virgins instead of the total pool of teenagers. It was set up to reach its conclusions. Learn together 13:24, 30 December 2008 (EST)

The WebMD article states

In this study, researchers compared the sexual behavior of 289 teenagers who reported taking a virginity pledge in a 1996 national survey to 645 non-pledgers who were matched on more than 100 factors, such as religious beliefs and attitudes toward sex and birth control.


It does not state that they were all virgins. The researchers used the same data as heritage foundation and older studies, but applied different statistical methods to reveal other trends. This is at least worth mentioning. We cannot claim to be balanced and trustworthy if we do not show all information related to the subject and allow the user to determine his opinion, to do otherwise is intellectually dishonest. --AndrasK 13:46, 30 December 2008 (EST)

Andras is correct. The goal was to answer the question "If you are inclined towards abstinence, does taking a virginity pledge help achieve that purpose?". The point of this analysis, then was study was to do a true "apples to apples" study by starting with a subset of kids inclined towards abstinence to begin with (instead of including those who were sexually active for example). By tracking the outcome over a five-year period, the analysis was able to conclude (from this population, anyway), that taking a virginity pledge was not effective in preventing or significantly postponing sexual activity. The other key finding is that the pledge-breakers were less likely to use birth control or take precautions against STDs. That made perfect sense, because they were more likely to be raised in homes and environments where that information was not made available to them.
I know this is not the type of finding that CP wants to talk about, but it's still the truth and has to be acknowledged as such. If it can happen to Sarah Palin's daughter, it can happen to any child of conservative parents. However, that doesn't mean people should give up trying to encourage abstinence - the value of acknowledging these findings is that we now have a challenge to find more effective approaches than relying on virginity pledges, that's all. --DinsdaleP 14:02, 30 December 2008 (EST)

DinsdaleP has once again found a more eloquent and effective way of communicating what I was trying to say. Thank you Dinsdale! Perhaps my wording was a bit off and too generalizing. I think with a few edits to the wording to stress a)the purpose of the study b)the population used c)the impact of the study that this will be a useful contribution to the CP infostock. --AndrasK 14:13, 30 December 2008 (EST)

The difficulty is that the original study was for those who pledged to wait until marriage -- regardless of past choices. They are then compared to those who actually had not had sexual relations. The comparison is apples and oranges. Learn together 14:41, 30 December 2008 (EST)

Can you please define "original study" (meaning the heritage study or...?) as well as what is being compared in your mind. As DinsdaleP states, the study addressed the effectiveness of virginity pledges in a population that was inclined towards abstinence. One can decide individually if a high failure rate of virginity pledges in an already abstinence-prone population would suggest a high failure rate for all populations. --AndrasK 15:19, 30 December 2008 (EST)

The study used by the authors who arrived at different conclusions broke out people into two different groups. Those who wished to make a pledge to refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage and those who did not. Of course using that criteria there was a strong difference between the groups. The recent retabulation only took those who didn't make the pledge and had never been sexually active -- a variable not contained for those who chose to make the pledge. They never consider that students may have taken the pledge that had a past history of sexual activity. Learn together 15:56, 30 December 2008 (EST)

The new study's entire population consists of teenagers who describe themselves as leaning towards abstinence, regardless of prior sexual activity. It then split that abstinence leaning population into those who took a pledge and those who did not. Between those groups there it was shown that the virginity pledgers not only did not have lower rates of sexual intercourse 5 years later, but that they engaged in riskier sex. Thus the study shows that within the population of teens who already favor an abstinence stance, virginity pledges do not lower reversion to sexual behavior. Again I state that one can imagine how effective virginity pledges would be in a population that does not explicitly define itself as leaning towards abstinence. --AndrasK 16:43, 30 December 2008 (EST)

The group for those who had not taken the pledge was specifically those who had not had intercourse. [1] I should point out that Virginity pledges generally make no similar designation. Teens are encouraged to make the pledge even if they are 'born-again' virgins. Learn together 18:09, 30 December 2008 (EST)
Out of a larger sample of 7th through 12th graders who were surveyed in 1995, 1996, and 2001, 3440 students were identified who: 1) As of the 1995 survey, were virgins and had not taken a virginity pledge. 2) Were over 15. 3) Had participated in all 3 surveys.
From that group of 3440, 289 were identified who took a virginity pledge between 1995 and 1996. From the remaining 3151, 645 students were selected who most closely matched the 289 (by 128 criteria!) at the time of the first survey, not the second. The assumption is that whatever differences appeared between the two groups at the second and third surveys are related to the virginity pledge and/or whatever made those children take that pledge (a AOSE course, a church group, peer pressure, etc.).
Both the pledge and nonpledge group had specifically not had intercourse as of the first survey. Pledgers did not have to be virgins at the time of the second survey in order to be included in the 'pledge' group - that group may (or may not) have included 'born-again' virgins. The study found that the behavior of the pledgers did not differ from that of the closely matched nonpledgers except insofar as the pledgers were less likely to use methods of pregnancy and STD prevention.
It should also be noted that the pledgers and matched nonpledgers, combined, were more sexually conservative than the remaining 2506 students in the subsample - but this is to be expected. The mass-media reports of this study have unsurprisingly underemphasized that the study was comparing sexually conservative pledgers with sexually conservative non-pledgers, not with all nonpledgers.--Brossa 23:11, 30 December 2008 (EST)
Where are you getting your information that the virginity pledge adherents had not had previous sexual intercourse. I haven't explicity seen this. Thanks Learn together 00:25, 31 December 2008 (EST)
The virginity pledge adherents had not had previous sexual intercourse at the time of a survey (1995) that took place approximately a year before the survey in which they reported taking a pledge (1996). Whether they were still virgins at the time of the 1996 study is not addressed. I get my information from the Pediatrics article. In the 'Methods' section under the 'Data' subsection it states:
"Data are a subsample of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationally representative sample of grade 7 to 12 students inverviewed in 3 waves (in 1995 [wave 1], 1996 [wave 2], and 2001 [wave 3]), as described elsewhere. The subsample comprises respondents who had not at wave 1 taken a virginity pledge or been sexually active, were >15 years of age, and participated in all three waves (n = 3440)."
Then, in the 'Variables' subsection,
"Virginity-pledge status is the wave 2 answer to 'Have you ever signed a pledge to abstain from sex until marriage?'"
289 pledgers were identified by their positive response to this wave 2 question.--Brossa 09:10, 31 December 2008 (EST)

The claim that 10% of virginity pledgers admit to lying about being virgins is not supported by the cited reference and has been removed. Rosenbaum's earlier study showed that among all students who initially reported having sexual experience, 10% subsequently reported no sexual experience on later surveys. Recently born-again students and recent virginity pledgers retracted previous claims of sexual experience at higher rates than the general student population: up to 28%. --Brossa 02:16, 2 February 2009 (EST)

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