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Survey Shows Healthy Respect Students Learn for Life
Independent report shows ‘dramatic increase’ in knowledge and acceptance of abstinence message

The proof of any abstinence program is not only what students cover in the curriculum but what they retain outside the classroom. A new survey shows that Healthy Respect students learn for life.

Pre-class and post-class surveys conducted by an independent team of Queens College sociologists show a significant increase in student knowledge about sexual activity and abstinence, as well as a high level of personal commitment to the Healthy Respect message of abstinence in preparation for marriage.

According to the independent report on the confidential student surveys, there was a dramatic increase -- 29 percent -- in the number of students who agreed that abstinence is the best way to avoid pregnancy. Almost as high – 24 percent -- was the increase in the number of students who agreed that abstinence is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

Also, there was a 13 percent increase in the number of students who were aware that STDs can be transmitted through sexual activity other than intercourse, and a 19 percent increase in those who know that not all STDs can be cured.

In addition to the pre-class and post-class surveys, the independent research team conducted focus groups in which students exhibited a grasp of the issues surrounding sexual activity and abstinence, and expressed a strong commitment to the Healthy Respect program and its life-affirming message.

The survey was based on responses from 155 students in two Yonkers public high schools.

“These numbers are real and dramatic, and they show that the program has had a positive affect on the students’ lives,” said Dr. Robin Rogers-Dillon, who led the research project. She is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Queens College who obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and studied Health Care Policy at Yale University.

Dr. Rogers-Dillon conducted the research project with Dr. Dana Weinberg, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Queens College who studied at Harvard University.

“The study also shows that student fears about getting pregnant or contracting STDs did not increase,” Dr. Weinberg added. “This is significant because some people think that abstinence programs use fear tactics to get their message across. That is obviously not the case here.”

“We are very pleased with the results of this survey which show the effectiveness of Healthy Respect in increasing the knowledge and affecting the attitudes of our students,” said John P. Margand, Esq., executive director of Healthy Respect. “Healthy Respect is focused on measurable results that indicate that students are taking the message to heart and making it a part of their lives. This is why we contract with independent researchers to conduct surveys and student interviews. The importance of the abstinence message demands that we conduct our program in the most professional manner.”

Next Week: Report on the focus groups.