Sunday, April 15, 2007

Annals of unexpected educational outcomes

Here's the abstract:

Students who participated in sexual abstinence programs were just as likely to have sex as those who did not...

And, here's the set-up for taking this experiment to the next level:

Officials said one lesson they learned from the study was that the abstinence message should be reinforced in subsequent years.


  1. Blue said...

    Are you at all surprised? It's also already been proven that students in anti-drug programs are no less likely to use drugs later in life.

    Education, while often purported as "the answer," doesn't always work, particularly if the student is being forced to accept the lesson rather than actively seeking it out him/herself. It's the same way in a math class -- the kid who feels like math is being thrust upon him/her will respond much differently than the kid who actively wants to learn math.

    *hops gracefully down from soapbox*

  2. Abi said...

    "Are you at all surprised?"

    No, but I was certainly tickled by this outcome! I also pitied the poor teenagers (who had to suffer the program) and the Congressmen and Congresswomen (who funded the program with high hopes).

  3. Tabula Rasa said...

    some recent research suggests that merely asking questions about risky behaviors makes people more likely to engage in those very behaviors. this happens because the question makes the behavior salient, and once salient it is more likely to be acted upon. i'd suspect a similar process is at work here.

    (i'd also suspected that n! would have said this well before me.)