Is abstinence education theory based? The underlying logic of abstinence education programs in Texas. Academic Article uri icon


  • Authors examined the logic (or the implicit theory) underlying 16 abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in Texas (50% of all programs funded under the federal welfare reform legislation during 2001 and 2002). Defined as a set of propositions regarding the relationship between program activities and their intended outcomes, program staff's implicit theories were summarized and compared to (a) data from studies on adolescent sexual behavior, (b) a theory-based model of youth abstinent behavior, and (c) preliminary findings from the national evaluation of Title V programs. Authors interviewed 62 program directors and instructors and employed selected principles of grounded theory to analyze interview data. Findings indicated that abstinence education staff could clearly articulate the logic guiding program activity choices. Comparisons between interview data and a theory-based model of adolescent sexual behavior revealed striking similarities. Implications of these findings for conceptualizing and evaluating abstinence-only-until-marriage (or similar) programs are examined.

published proceedings

  • Health Educ Behav

author list (cited authors)

  • Goodson, P., Pruitt, B. E., Suther, S., Wilson, K., & Buhi, E.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Goodson, Patricia||Pruitt, BE||Suther, Sandy||Wilson, Kelly||Buhi, Eric

publication date

  • April 2006