ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A new study of nearly 200 adolescents has found that when children worked with their parents to complete homework about sexual abstinence they were more likely to resolve to refrain from sexual activity.
The report from the Alan Guttmacher Institute — published in the March/April issue of the institute's Family Planning Perspectives journal — surveyed 351 students participating in the “Bright Futures” abstinence-education program in several suburban middle schools in the Rochester, N.Y., area.
Some 95% of the 12- to 14-year-olds had indicated they were not sexually active in an earlier survey.
All the students were asked to complete five abstinence-only sex education classes, and 190 of them were given five additional homework assignments to complete with a parent, according to USA Today.
“For example, the first homework activity was as simple as agreeing to a general set of ground rules” such as respecting one another's opinions, study coauthor Cheryl Perkins told the Washington Times. The activities also included questions about reasons to delay sexual activity, and coping with peer pressure.
“Those who had completed such assignments with a parent were “less likely to intend to have sex before completing high school,” researchers concluded. Those assignments also improved communication skills between parents and children, creating “a much more even give and take,” said study co-author Linda Simkin, of the Academy for Educational Development in New York.