ERIC Number: EJ759373
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Does Sex Education Affect Adolescent Sexual Behaviors and Health?
Sabia, Joseph J.
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, v25 n4 p783-802 Aut 2006
This study examines whether offering sex education to young teenagers affects several measures of adolescent sexual behavior and health: virginity status, contraceptive use, frequency of intercourse, likelihood of pregnancy, and probability of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, I find that while sex education is associated with adverse health outcomes, there is little evidence of a causal link after controlling for unobserved heterogeneity via fixed effects and instrumental variables. These findings suggest that those on each side of the ideological debate over sex education are, in a sense, both correct and mistaken. Opponents are correct in observing that sex education is associated with adverse health outcomes, but are generally incorrect in interpreting this relationship causally. Proponents are generally correct in claiming that sex education does not encourage risky sexual activity, but are incorrect in asserting that investments in typical schoolbased sex education programs produce measurable health benefits.
Descriptors: Probability, Sex Education, Pregnancy, Sexuality, Health Behavior, Early Adolescents, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, At Risk Persons, Longitudinal Studies, National Surveys, Correlation, Outcomes of Education, Health Promotion
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health