Michael J. New: Guttmacher Reports Conflicting Findings on Trends in Teen Sexual Activity

Over the past month, the Guttmacher Institute released two studies on recent trends in teen sexual activity, and they appear to contradict one another.

One study, which appeared in The Journal of Adolescent Health, analyzed data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) and found significant increases in teenage contraception use with no corresponding decrease in teen sexual activity. The other study, published in a Guttmacher policy report, reported contradictory findings, using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) to find recent decreases in teen sexual activity with no corresponding increase in teenage contraceptive use.

What accounts for these contradictory findings? There are a couple of possibilities. Sometimes contradictions such as these are caused by slight differences in the wording of survey questions. It’s also possible that one of the surveys might have used a skewed sample of teenagers, and the two studies analyze teenagers from different age groups over somewhat different time periods. The data from the NSFG represent teenagers aged 15-19 between 2007 and 2014. Data from the YRBS, meanwhile, analyze high-school students from 2013 to 2017.

More interesting is the fact that Guttmacher handled the results of the two studies very differently. The authors of the study finding increases in teenage contraceptive use cited these increases as the reason for the recent reduction in teen-pregnancy rates, and Guttmacher sent a press release promoting this conclusion. But when the YRBS found recent reductions in teen sexual activity, the authors never used these findings to analyze recent teen-pregnancy declines.

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Source: Christian Post