In September, 1997, the findings of a study funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  The study followed more than 12,000 teenagers from the 7th grade to the 12th grade.  The following five factors were found to be the greatest deterrent to unmarried teen sexual activity:

1.   A good relationship with parents

2.  Clearly expressed disapproval by parents of their teen being sexually active outside of marriage

3.  Strong disapproval of their teens using contraceptives

4. Teens having made an abstinence pledge (3 times more likely to be abstinent than teens who had not made such a pledge)

5.  Involvement in church activities


Check out our resources on the Educators' Page

Reasons teens give for being sexually active: (from research done by authors Tom and Judy Lickona)






Sexual attraction 
Society and media pressure
Peer Pressure
Pressure from partner 
Desire to be considered "normal" 
Parents example 
Inappropriate sex education   
Mistaken beliefs
Use of alcohol and drugs
Low self-esteem 
No good reasons to say "No"
The majority of sexually experienced teens wish they had waited