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Fam Plann Perspect. 1997 May-Jun;29(3):100-8.

The impact of the Postponing Sexual Involvement curriculum among youths in California.

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1
ETR Associates, Santa Cruz, Calif, USA.

Abstract

Postponing Sexual Involvement (PSI) is a widely implemented middle school curriculum designed to delay the onset of sexual intercourse. In an evaluation of its effectiveness among seventh and eighth graders in California, 10,600 youths from schools and community-based organizations statewide were recruited and participated in randomly assigned intervention or control groups; the curriculum was implemented by either adult or youth leaders. Survey data were collected before the program was implemented, and at three months and 17 months afterward. At three months, small but statistically significant changes were found in fewer than half of the measured attitudes, behaviors and intentions related to sexual activity; at 17 months, none of these significant positive effects of the PSI program had been sustained. At neither follow-up were there significant positive changes in sexual behavior; Youths in treatment and control groups were equally likely to have become sexually active, and youths in treatment groups were not less likely than youths in control groups to report a pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection. The evaluation suggests that PSI may be too modest in length and scope to have an impact on youths' sexual behavior.

PIP:

Postponing Sexual Involvement (PSI) is a widely implemented middle school curriculum designed to delay the onset of sexual intercourse. The curriculum is delivered in five 45-60 minute sessions in classroom or small group settings, complements standard sexuality curricula, and tries to help adolescents delay sexual activity by helping them to understand the social pressures which encourage adolescent sexual activity and how to set limits, resist peer pressure, assertively refuse sex, and develop nonsexual ways to express feelings. 10,600 youths of mean age 12.8 years from schools and community-based organizations statewide were recruited to participate in randomly assigned intervention or control groups to evaluate PSI's effectiveness among seventh and eighth graders in California. 90% of leaders who presented the curriculum were adults and 10% were teens slightly older than the target audience and accompanied by an adult observer. Survey data were collected before the program was implemented and at 3 and 17 months afterward; 75% completed both the baseline and 17-month follow-up. At 3 months, small but statistically significant changes were found in less than half of the measured attitudes, behaviors, and intentions related to sexual activity. However, none of the changes had been sustained at 17 months follow-up. At neither follow-up was there any significant desired change in sexual behavior. Youths in treatment and control groups were equally likely to have become sexually active and youths exposed to the PSI were not less likely than non-exposed youths to report a pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection.

PMID:
9179578
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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