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October 03, 2005

First, Protect

What factor in teenage life multplies the suicide rate by a little under 3 times for girls and by around 6 times for boys?

But there was another statistic that should have gotten parents' attention but which was similarly ignored, namely, that there seems to be a direct link between teen sexuality and teen depression. A study by the Heritage Foundation, in-turn based on the government-funded National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, found that about 25 percent of sexually active girls say they are depressed all, most or a lot of the time, while only 8 percent of girls who are not sexually active feel the same.

While 14 percent of girls who have had intercourse have attempted suicide, only 5 percent of sexually inactive girls have. And whereas 6 percent of sexually active boys have tried suicide, less than 1 percent of sexually inactive boys have. The report challenges the previously held notion that teens become sexually active in order to self-medicate their own depression.

And lest you think it's possible that the sexual activity was the result of the depression...
"Findings from the study show depression came after substance and sexual activity, not the other way around," says researcher Denise Dion Hallfors of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, analyzed data from a national survey of more than 13,000 teenagers in grades seven to 11.

(Emphasis in original.)

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who comments on this study in the linked article, believes that the first priority of parents--even before food and clothing and even love--is to protect their children. As he notes, all the watering and nurturing in the world won't revive a dead plant ripped up from its roots.

Posted by Doug at October 3, 2005 01:13 PM

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