A study released by The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org) is sure once again to ignite the sexual revolution wars, after finding that teenage girls who are sexually active face an increased risk for depression and suicide.

Researchers examined government data obtained in surveys of 6,500 youth ages 14 to 17, and found that more than 25 percent of sexually active girls said they were depressed "a lot of the time" or "most or all of the time." In comparison, 7.7 percent of girls who were not sexually active expressed similar sentiments.

The difference among boys was also present, although not quite as pronounced: 8.3 percent of sexually active boys showed a greater tendency toward depression, while only 3.4 percent of non-active boys said so.

The study found that "[g]irls who were sexually active were three times more likely to say they had attempted suicide than those who weren't. Sexually active boys were nearly nine times more likely to have attempted suicide."

Some might argue that the causality runs in the other direction -- depressed kids are more likely to engage in sex and other risky behavior. However, Heritage Foundation vice president Rebecca Hagelin said the data showed that was a less likely explanation.

"[A]s the Heritage analysis points out, the differences in happiness between sexually active and non-sexually active kids are too large and too widespread for the depression to have caused the sex in most cases," she said. "They could've lashed out in any number of ways.

"Also, a majority of teens who had become sexually active admitted they'd started too soon and expressed regret."

Hagelin said the results demonstrated that, contrary to the reasoning behind the safe-sex philosophy, "there is no condom for the brain or heart."

 

Ed Vitagliano, a frequent contributor to AgapePress, is news editor for AFA Journal, a monthly publication of the American Family Association.  This article appeared originally in the October 2003 issue.  The entire report from Heritage Foundation is available on the Internet here.