Middle School Program May Delay Sexual Activity

Seventh graders who participate in program less likely to be sexually active by ninth grade

THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- In middle school students, "It's Your Game: Keeping It Real" -- a theory-driven, multi-component, curriculum-based intervention -- may help delay the initiation of sexual activity, according to a study published online Aug. 18 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Susan R. Tortolero, Ph.D., of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, and colleagues randomly assigned seventh-grade students from 10 predominantly African-American and Hispanic school districts to either receive or not receive the intervention, and followed 907 of them through ninth grade.

Compared to the intervention group, the researchers found that a significantly greater number of students in the no-intervention group initiated sex by the ninth grade (29.9 versus 23.4 percent). Overall, they found that students in the no-intervention group were 1.29 times more likely to initiate sex and that females were 1.42 times more likely to initiate sex.

"This provides evidence that school-based sexual health interventions can be implemented early and can delay initiation of sexual activity," the authors conclude. "This has important implications for implementing policy and for dissemination of evidence-based interventions."

Abstract
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