Study on Sports and Teen Pregnancy

In yet another example of why we can not look at things in a vacuum, this study on Sports and Teen Pregnancy Study from The Women’s Sports Foundation looks at the impact of sports on teen pregnancy.

Here are their major conclusions:

  1. Female athletes are less likely to get pregnant. Nationwide, female athletes are less than half as likely to get pregnant as female non-athletes.
  2. Female athletes are more likely to be virgins.
  3. Female athletes have their first intercourse later in adolescence.
  4. Female athletes have sex less often.
  5. Female athletes have fewer sex partners.
  6. Mixed results for male athletes. One study shows male athletes becoming sexually active earlier than male non-athletes. A national study found similar results for African-American male athletes v. non athletes.
  7. Both male and female athletes are more likely to use contraceptives.

From the report: “Our results strongly suggest that, for girls, sports may be used as a developmental strategy in programs intended to reduce teen pregnancy.”

“We contend that sports are a cultural resource that builds girls’ confidence, sense of physical empowerment, and social recognition within the school and community. Girls may be using the self-reliance and social status gained through athletic participation to resist social pressures to exchange sex for approval or popularity.”

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