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J Sch Health. 2005 Mar;75(3):90-8.

A review of 21 curricula for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

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Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Texas State University, 601 University Drive, A174 Jowers Center, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA.


The authors reviewed the content, methods, and overall quality of 21 curricula used in abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. Only materials designed for use in middle school grades (fifth to eighth) or with middle school-aged audiences (9-13 years of age), which presented the abstinence message in at least 40% of their content, were included. A rating instrument adapted from 2 sets of education guidelines structured the assessment of each curriculum. Four experienced teachers rated each curriculum. Curricula exhibited considerable variability in overall quality ratings. While on average, materials scored a 3.33 on a 1-to-5 scale (1 = Unacceptable; 5 = Excellent), 12 curricula received summative scores above the average, with 4 scoring 4.0 or higher. Eight curricula, however, received a below-average rating. While abstinence materials vary considerably in terms of overall quality, the values and world views underlying this sample of curricula were clear and consistent: those who develop abstinence education curricula value nonsexual antecedents of sexual behavior such as skills (goal setting, decision making, and assertiveness), ideals (fidelity, friendships), and psychological factors such as self-esteem.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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