ERIC Number: ED476392
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Jun-2
Reference Count: N/A
Sexually Active Teenagers Are More Likely To Be Depressed and To Attempt Suicide. A Report of the Heritage Center for Data Analysis.
Rector, Robert E.; Johnson, Kirk A.; Noyes, Lauren R.
Although teen sexual activity has declined in recent years, the overall rate is still high. The problems associated with teen sexual activity are well known. Less widely known are the psychological and emotional problems associated with this activity. The present study examines the linkage between teenage sexual activity and emotional health. The findings show that when compared to teens who are not sexually active, teenage boys and girls who are sexually active are significantly less likely to be happy, more likely to feel depressed, and significantly more likely to attempt suicide. Thus in addition to its role in promoting teen pregnancy and the current epidemic of STDs, early sexual activity is a substantial factor in undermining the emotional well being of American teenagers. There has been a growth in abstinence education programs over the past five years. The best abstinence programs teach 1) the primary importance of delaying sexual activity 2) that human sexual relationships are predominantly emotional and moral rather than physical in character and 3) that teen abstinence is an important step leading toward a loving marital relationship as an adult. Such programs are uniquely suited to meeting both the emotional and physical needs of Americas youth. (Contains 10 references, 3 tables, and 1 appendix.) (ADT)
Descriptors: Adolescent Behavior, Adolescents, Depression (Psychology), Happiness, Mental Health, Moral Values, Sex Education, Sexual Abstinence, Suicide
Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002. Web site: http://www.heritage.org.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC. Center for Data Analysis.