Postponing Sexual Involvement

Economic Development and Quality of Life for People and Communities
Research Year: 

Teen pregnancy rates in Arizona are among the highest in the nation. The Postponing Sexual Involvement Program is designed to help reduce teen pregnancy rates in five Arizona counties.

Description of Action: 

Over the past five years, more than 6,000 students in grades five through nine, from the rural communities of Chinle, Eloy, Globe, Miami, Casa Grande, Hayden-Winkelman, San Carlos, Mohave Valley, and Yuma, Arizona have completed five 40-60 minute sessions on postponing sexual involvement. The sessions are designed to assist pre-teens and young teens in recognizing existing pressures to engage in premature sexual behaviors, to increase their awareness of the benefits of postponing sexual behavior, to provide skills that will enable them to postpone sexual behavior, and to encourage them to examine their personal values about sex and recognize the risks associated with premature sexual activity.


More than 6,000 pre-and post-test surveys completed over a five-year period indicate that the program affected subgroups of teens differently. Students who benefit from the program by changing their sexual behavior also tend to have protective factors in their lives such as good relationships with parents, good grades, and future educational aspirations. Those who don’t tend to report higher rates of delinquent behaviors. Overall, the program also seemed to have a greater impact on females than on males. Adults and teens in the four communities said they liked the program and wanted it to continue.

Funding Agencies: 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Population Affairs

Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs

Conact Name: 
Sherry C. Betts
Contact E-mail: 
Contact Address: 

School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Division of Family Studies and Human Development

The University of Arizona

PO Box 210033

Tucson, AZ 85721-0033

Tel: (520) 621-3399, FAX: (520) 621-9445