Program

May 07, 2007

OVERVIEW

ReCapturing the Vision was a one-year abstinence education program.  In an analysis of the ReCapturing the Vision program’s effectiveness, 8th grade girls in Miami, Florida were assigned to receive the ReCapturing the Vision program or Miami’s existing health curriculum.  Five years after the study commenced, no significant differences were found between students assigned to the ReCapturing the Vision program and students assigned to the existing program on measures of abstinence rate, age of sexual onset, number of sexual partners, pregnancy rate, STD acquisition, birth control use, or condom use.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: 8th grade girls

ReCapturing The Vision was a one-year abstinence education program for girls, funded by Title V, Section 510 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.  All such programs have as their exclusive purpose “teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity.”

During their 8th grade year, girls participating in the ReCapturing the Vision program attended a daily class that taught two curricula: “ReCapturing the Vision” and “Vessels of Honor.”  “ReCapturing the Vision” centers on identifying personal strengths and resources, developing strategies for fulfilling personal and career goals, and building critical skills that will help teenagers achieve positive goals and resist negative influences.  “Vessels of Honor” has six focus areas: honorable behavior, effective communication for resisting pressure, development of good relationships, physical development and its implications for changing pressures, avoiding sexual abuse and date rape, and strategies for choosing a mate/benefits of a committed marital relationship.

In addition to classroom sessions, the ReCapturing the Vision program included services such as home visits by social workers, referrals to local services, after-school tutoring, community service projects, cultural events, a family retreat, an annual Teen Abstinence Rally, and an annual Teen Talk Symposium.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Trenholm, C., Devaney, B., Fortson, K., Clark, M., Quay, L., & Wheeler, J. (2008). Impacts of abstinence education on teen sexual activity, risk of pregnancy, and risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 27(2), 255–276.

Trenholm, C., Devaney, B., Fortson, K., Quay, L., Wheeler, J., & Clark, M.  (2007).  Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs.  Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Evaluated population: Between 1999 and 2001, high-risk 7th grade girls from Miami, Florida were identified as potential participants for this study.  These girls were invited to take part in the program, and 597 chose to participate.  480 (80%) of these girls completed follow-up surveys.  4% of these girls were white, 63% were black, 20% were Hispanic, and 13% were of other ethnicity.  34% of the girls’ parents were married.

Approach: Girls who chose to participate were randomly assigned to the program group or to the control group.  Girls assigned to the program group received the ReCapturing the Vision program during their 8th grade year (unless they chose not to participate, which 35% of the program group did).  Girls assigned to the control group received Miami’s existing health program for 6th through 8th graders.  The existing program included a unit on human growth and development.  Both the program group and the control group had previously been exposed to discussion of STDs, abstinence, and drug and alcohol prevention, as the existing curriculum covered these topics in 6th grade.

Girls completed surveys at baseline that assessed their participation in risk behaviors and their knowledge and perceptions of sex.  They completed three subsequent surveys over the course of the following 42-78 months.

Results: ReCapturing the Vision had no positive impact on girls’ sexual behaviors.  At the final follow-up (which occurred, on average, five years after a girl entered the study), 44% of the treatment group was abstinent, compared with 40% of the control group.  This did not constitute a significant difference.  There were positive, but insignificant differences between the program and control groups on measures of abstinence over the past year and intention to remain abstinent as well.

Girls assigned to the ReCapturing the Vision program were not any less likely than girls in the control group to have had four or more sexual partners.  Treatment girls did not report a later average age of sexual onset, nor did they report using condoms or birth control any more frequently than did control students.  And ReCapturing the Vision girls were just as likely as control girls to have become pregnant, had a baby, or acquired an STD.

The program had no impact on other risk behaviors.  Students assigned to the ReCapturing the Vision intervention and students assigned to the control group were equally likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and use marijuana.

The ReCapturing the Vision intervention did not lead to greater knowledge of the risks and consequences associated with STDs

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Trenholm, C., Devaney, B., Fortson, K., Clark, M., Quay, L., & Wheeler, J. (2008). Impacts of abstinence education on teen sexual activity, risk of pregnancy, and risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 27(2), 255–276.

Trenholm, C., Devaney, B., Fortson, K., Quay, L., Wheeler, J., & Clark, M.  (2007).  Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs.  Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Program materials (including manuals for both the “ReCapturing the Vision” curriculum and the “Vessels of Honor” curriculum) are available for purchase at: http://recapturingthevision.org/

KEYWORDS: Adolescence (12-17), Middle School, School-based, Gender-specific (female only), Urban, Self Esteem, Home Visitation, Case Management, Tutoring, Service Learning, High-Risk, White or Caucasian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Behaviors, Abstinence, Reproductive Health, Risky Sex, Sexual Initiation, STD/HIV/AIDS, Condom use, Contraceptives, Substance Use, Tobacco Use, Alcohol Use, Marijuana Use

Program information last updated on 5/7/07.

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