Article

Reborn a Virgin: Adolescents’ Retracting of Virginity Pledges and Sexual Histories

Harvard Statistics Department, 1 Oxford St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.23). 07/2006; 96(6):1098-103. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.063305
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We examined retractions of virginity pledges and of sexual histories among adolescents taking part in waves 1 and 2 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
Logistic regression analyses were used to compare respondents' reports of virginity pledges and sexual histories at waves 1 and 2.Results. Among wave 1 virginity pledgers, 53% denied having made a pledge at wave 2; after control for confounders, pledgers who subsequently initiated sexual activity were 3 times as likely to deny having made a pledge as those who did not initiate sexual activity (odds ratio [OR] = 3.21; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.04, 5.04). Among wave 1 nonvirgins who subsequently took virginity pledges, 28% retracted their sexual histories at wave 2; respondents who took virginity pledges were almost 4 times as likely as those who did not to retract reports of sexual experience (OR=3.88; 95% CI=1.87, 8.07).
Adolescents who initiate sexual activity are likely to recant virginity pledges, whereas those who take pledges are likely to recant their sexual histories. Thus, evaluations of sexual abstinence programs are vulnerable to unreliable data. In addition, virginity pledgers may incorrectly assess the sexually transmitted disease risks associated with their prepledge sexual behavior.

0 Followers
 · 
116 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Research from the 1960s shows that high school counselors acted as gatekeepers to limit college access, and community college counselors engaged in cooling out that is, dampening students’ ambitious plans and convincing them to reduce their goals of attending 4-year colleges. This research may have had some impact, since today many counselors deplore such actions and advise differently. Rather than cooling out students, guidance counselors now use new practices that encourage low-achieving students to pursue high-track 4-year-college pathways despite a low likelihood of payoffs, while ignoring alternate degrees with better outcomes, fewer academic demands, and shorter timetables. The perfectionist model can help us understand this new approach. This model, originally described in studies of the sexual abstinence movement, is used here to identify comparable features in the BA-for-all movement. Perfectionist advice poses high ideals, but also leads to high rates of predictable failures, and failure is more damaging because it precludes realistic back-up options. We review several studies that find educators recommending idealistic goals with high failure rates, sometimes as high as 80%. High goals should not be abandoned, but we must be aware of the limitations of perfectionist models and the importance of more complex advice, multiple options, and back-up plans. We propose three kinds of sociological analyses that could inform educators about the stratification implications of their well-intentioned actions and suggest more complex goals and procedures that would be more candid and perhaps lead to better outcomes.
    12/2010: pages 181-203;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Self-reports are the standard measure of STD history used in survey research. We explored to what extent self-reports of ever having an STD are recanted in a follow-up data collection. Using the National Survey of Adolescent Males (NSAM), we assessed consistency over time in self-reports of ever having an STD in a sample of young men transitioning from adolescence to young adulthood (aged 15-26 years), a population in which STDs are particularly prevalent. Approximately 7% of all sexually experienced young men rescinded STD self-reports over time. Thus, self-reports at one point in time likely underestimate true STD history, using earlier self-reports as the criterion. Among men who ever report an STD, 94-98% recant their reports in later waves. Knowledge of the extent of underreporting can potentially be used to adjust cross-sectional estimates of STDs based on survey self-reports. These study findings move us one step closer to estimating just how much underreporting of STDs in self-reports is.
    Journal of Adolescent Health 09/2009; 45(2):187-92. DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.12.024 · 2.75 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Reports from academic and media sources assert that many young people substitute non-vaginal sexual activities for vaginal intercourse in order to maintain what could be called "technical virginity." Explanations for technical virginity, however, are based on weak empirical evidence and considerable speculation. Using a sample of 15-19-year-olds from Cycle 6 of the National Survey of Family Growth, we examine technical virginity and its motivations. The results suggest that religious adolescents are less likely than less-religious ones to opt for non-vaginal sex over total abstinence. Abstinence pledgers who are virgins are neither more nor less likely than nonpledgers who are virgins to substitute non-vaginal sex for intercourse. Moreover, religion and morality are actually the weakest motivators of sexual substitution among adolescents who have not had vaginal sex. Preserving technical virginity is instead more common among virgins who are driven by a desire to avoid potential life-altering consequences, like pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
    Social Science Research 01/2009; 37(4):1200-15. DOI:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2007.09.006 · 1.27 Impact Factor