Research & Studies on the Effectiveness of CSE 

The Institute for Research & Evaluation has released the results of a new analysis, entitled “Re-Examining the Evidence: School-Based Comprehensive Sex Education in the United States,” which examines the outcome research on sex education, with findings that contradict “effectiveness” claims for Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) in U.S. schools.

All Risks Factors Are Important in Assessing Adolescent Suicide

American College of Pediatricians (2016)

“In studies that controlled for confounding factors, sexually active adolescent females were found to be three times as likely to report being depressed and three times as likely to have attempted suicide when compared to sexually abstinent females. Sexually active males were more than twice as likely to suffer from depression and seven times as likely to have attempted suicide when compared to sexually abstinent males.   Teen females with sexual experience were three times and males eight times more likely to have attempted suicide than were virgin teens. Among adolescent females, depression is not consistently followed by sexual activity, but sexual activity is frequently followed by depression…”  Read more

“This study provides a broad picture of the abstinence education movement in the U.S. and the historical, political, and theoretical context of its journey. It describes the problems it has targeted, the policies and programs it has designed to solve them, and the results of these various interventions. In addition to describing the outcomes of the different approaches to sex education, the study examines their foundational premises and assumptions, with the intent to clarify not only what does or does not work but also the reasons for success or failure.”  Read More

“Congress has approved $75,000,000 in 2010 funding to establish a federal Teenage Pregnancy Prevention initiative “for the purpose of replicating evidence-based programs that have been proven through rigorous evaluation to reduce teenage pregnancy, behavioral risks underlying teenage pregnancy, or other associated risk factors” (p. 3). Twenty-eight prevention programs have been certified as meeting these criteria, and have been federally endorsed and recommended for funding and widespread distribution. However, when the research on these programs is scrutinized according to recommended standards for program effectiveness the evidence does not support the claim that they are “proven to be effective through rigorous evaluation” (p.4)…” Read More

“The Systematic Method for Assessing Risk-avoidance Tool (SMARTool) is a research-based tool designed to help organizations assess, select, and implement effective programs and curricula that support sexual risk avoidance. By systematically listing and explaining the key elements to be considered, the SMARTool can serve as a resource to curriculum developers and educators and offers methods for comparing different curricula to one another. By promoting research- and evidence-based components of sexual risk-avoidance programs and curricula, the SMARTool can also be used to improve the effectiveness as they are implemented…” Read More

“Research regarding Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE):  Although described as “proven effective,” there is inadequate evidence of program effectiveness for most of CSE programs.


• Only one of the 28 CSE programs evaluated showed a reduction in teen pregnancy at least one year after the program.


• Only 3 of the 28 programs demonstrated a one-year reduction in sexual risk behavior or the teen population in a school classroom, where most sex education programs occur.


• Only one of the school-based programs demonstrated the ability to reduce teen STDs one year after the program, and only 3 community or clinic-based programs produced this outcome…”


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“Newly released research gauged the effectiveness of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program from 2010-2014. In some cases, students were more likely to engage in risky behavior as a result of their participation in the program…” Read More

“…For youth who had ever been sexually active before the study began, treatment group members were significantly more likely to report having had sexual intercourse in the last 90 days than their control group counterparts. Treatment group members who were White were significantly more likely to report having had oral sex in the prior 90 days and oral sex without a condom in the last 90 days than their control group counterparts…” Read More