There is now solid evidence that teen girls who engage in risky behaviors are more vulnerable to depression, said a senior fellow at Concerned Women for America.
Janice Crouse pointed to a study conducted at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill which found that sex and drug behavior predicted an increased likelihood of depression, especially for girls.
"So much for the cultural mantra that 'sex is no big deal' and that all we need to do for teens is provide them with condoms and teach them 'safe sex' practices," said Crouse, according to CWA, a public policy women's organization promoting Biblical values.
Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the study tested whether gender-specific patterns of substance use and sexual behavior precede and predict depression or vice versa. Although depression did not predict behavior, researchers found that both experimental and high-risk behaviors among girls predicted depression. The data came out of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
"The message is clear: teens engaging in risky behavior are at risk for depression," she stated. Crouse further highlighted the parallel between widespread depression and the percentage of high school students saying they had intercourse, drank alcohol and used marijuana (47, 43, and 22 percent, respectively). Those figures were referenced from a 2003 report.
"Almost one-third of the students said that their feelings of sadness and hopelessness had kept them from doing normal activities over the past year," Crouse noted.
Girls are more likely to fall into depression after both experimental and high-risk behaviors while for boys, only high-risk behaviors increased the odds of later depression.
"Depressed girls who are abstinent, however, have decreased odds of engaging in any high-risk behavior," Crouse pointed out.
"So, why is the left so determined to continue the myth that teens are going to 'do it anyway;' that they are captive to their hormones so we must provide them with 'protection' and ignore everything else?"
Crouse emphatically argued that sex is a big deal and even if prevention methods were 100 percent effective, she said casual sex still has a significant psychological impact that "can never be eliminated."
"No amount of argument to the contrary will change that basic biological reality."
While Crouse argued that adolescents should be made aware of the possible consequences and the risks that they are taking when engaging in risky behaviors, she shed light to recent data that showed a decreasing trend in teen sexual activity and abortions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in the summer of 2006 that the percentage of high school students reporting ever having sexual intercourse has declined during the past 15 years.
"We are seeing positive results from pointing young women to the truth."