Impact of Abstinence-Only Sex Education on Teen Birth Rates at the State Level Open Access

The US continues to experience disproportionately high teen birth, pregnancy, and STD rates compared to other developed nations and the appropriate type of sex education for American adolescents’ has been a constant source of debate. Over the last 13 years, the US federal government has invested over $1.5 billion in abstinence-only education in attempt to improve adolescent health outcomes. While there have been studies on how abstinence-only education programs’ impact their students, there has been little investigation into how abstinence-only education funding and programs influence health outcomes at the state level. Furthermore, there has been little research conducted on the impact of the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) funding program, a particularly restrictive form of abstinence-only education. Using teen birth rate data from the last 13 years, this study seeks to investigate whether abstinence-only education funding and programs impact teen birth rate at the state level. I analyze an original panel dataset using multivariate analysis and lagged dependent variable models to find that increases in funding levels for total abstinence-only and CBAE education, as well as the existence of CBAE programs, are associated with increases in teen birth rate. Evidence from lagged dependent variable models suggests that a causal interpretation of this association may be warranted. These findings indicate that abstinence-only education programs do not improve adolescents’ health outcomes, and provides potential evidence that abstinence-only education is harmful to young women’s health. [Senior Thesis: Yes][Major: Sociology][Minor: Global Health Studies]


Attribute NameValues
Date created
Related url
Resource type
Last modified: 02/12/2018

Downloadable Content

Download PDF

EndNote | Zotero | Mendeley