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Teenagers Often Deny Taken ‘Virginity Pledges’

by Medindia Content Team on May 7, 2006 at 11:53 AM
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Teenagers Often Deny Taken ‘Virginity Pledges’

Taking virginity pledges is gaining popularity among the teenagers in the recent years. But a new study has found that despite such pledges teens deny bluntly that they ever took such vows.

The study also questions whether teens' self-reported sexual histories are a good way of gauging how well they adhere to these pledges, reports foodconsumer.org.


Virginity pledges usually take the form of public or written declarations to remain a virgin until marriage.

"A better and more reliable measure than adolescents' self-reported sexual history might be the straightforward results of medical STD (sexually transmitted disease) tests," said researcher Janet Rosenbaum, a doctoral student in health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

Rosenbaum analyzed data from 13,568 U.S. adolescents.

She found that 73 percent of those who signed a virginity pledge and then went on to have premarital sex disavowed ever having signed such a pledge.

The teens were initially surveyed in 1995, and again a year later.

She also found that adolescents who'd had premarital sex and then decided to make a virginity pledge were highly likely to misreport their earlier sexual history, which makes it difficult to accurately assess virginity pledges' effects on early sexual intercourse.

Of the teens who reported a sexual experience in the first survey, those who later took a virginity pledge were four times more likely to retract their reports of sexual experience than teens who had not take a pledge at the time of the second survey.

Rosenbaum said the fact that 52 percent of adolescents who made virginity pledges recanted their vows within a year suggests that these programs have a high drop-out rate and that adolescents don't make a strong connection with the pledge.

She concluded that using teens' self-reported history of sexual intercourse is an unreliable measure for studies examining the effectiveness of virginity pledges.


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