John-Henry Westen

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New Study Finds Abstinence Pays Off in the Long Run

John-Henry Westen

COLORADO SPRINGS, May 6, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Focus on the Family Medical Issues Analyst Reginald Finger, M.D., M.P.H., announced Wednesday that remaining a virgin through adolescence brings a host of positive effects, according to a study released April 27. The study, “Association of Virginity at Age 18 With Educational, Economic, Social, and Health Outcomes in Middle Adulthood,” examined the outcomes of men and women who remain virgins until they are 18 and was published in Adolescent and Family Health, vol. 3, no. 4.

“It is very much as we suspected - that adolescent virginity has a significant impact on well-being in middle adulthood,” Finger said. “We found that men and women who were virgins at age 18, when evaluated approximately 20 years later, had about half the risk of divorce, had completed about an additional year of education and had annual incomes nearly 20 percent higher than those who were not virgins at 18. We used 18 as the cutoff age because it gave approximately equal populations of virgins and non-virgins to study.

“We found, as well, that these better outcomes were not merely the result of avoiding teenage pregnancy or fatherhood,” Finger continued. “The outcomes are inherent to remaining abstinent.”

The study, conducted by analyzing information on 3,750 men and 3,620 women in the 1979-2000 waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, controlled for ethnicity and previous educational or economic disadvantage.

“In addition, we found that female virgins were more likely than their non-virgin counterparts to have a positive financial net worth and were almost half as likely as non-virgins to use welfare benefits,” Finger said.

“The unmistakable message of this study is that abstinence is the best course for our children and teens. Focus on the Family constantly encourages abstinence until marriage as the best choice - the one that is likely to lead to healthy outcomes in several significant measures of well-being. Abstinence is more than just avoiding STDs and teenage pregnancy - as the condom- based curricula seek. Abstinence is, without a doubt, the only choice to give our next generation the best chance in life.”

The study was conducted by Finger; Tonya Thelen, B.S.; John T. Vessey, Ph.D.; Joanna K. Mohn, M.D.; and Joshua R. Mann, M.D., M.P.H. 

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