PHI Home





Do Virginity Pledges Cause Virginity? Questions and our replies about the virginity pledge study critique


Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue. -- Robert Merton, 1962

Replies to Critiques

In Chapter 12 of Foundations and Evaluation, titled Appraising Evidence on Program Effectiveness, Constantine and Braverman discuss common sources of ambiguous results and misleading conclusions in attributing effectiveness to programs. In the course of this discussion, several well-known studies in the area of adolescent health promotion programs are critiqued to illustrate these issues. As noted in the chapter, "In the spirit of constructive criticism and rational debate, written responses will be sought from the authors of all studies critiqued in this chapter, and posted at"

This page was created to post replies received by the authors who were offered the opportunity to respond to the critiques.

View a sample of the request letter sent to the first author of each study critiqued.

Authors contacted:

1. Peter Bearman, PhD, regarding Bearman, P. S. & Brueckner, H. 2001. Promising the future: Virginity pledges and first intercourse. American Journal of Sociology, 106, 859-912. (critique appears on pages 239-242, and 250) critique response (new)

2. David C. Grossman, MD, MPH, regarding Grossman, D. C., Neckerman, H. J., Koespell, T. D., Liu, P. Y., Asher, K. N., Beland, K., Frey, K., & Rivara, F. P. (1997). Effectiveness of a violence prevention curriculum among children in elementary school: A randomized trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 277, 1605-1611. (critique appears on pages 245-246) response

3. Douglas Kirby, PhD, regarding Kirby, D., Barth, R. P., Leland, N., & Fetro, J. V. 1991. Reducing the risk: Impact of a new curriculum on sexual risk-taking. Family Planning Perspectives, 23, 253-263. (critique appears on pages 246-247) response

4. Betty M. Hubbard, PhD, regarding Hubbard, B. M., Giese, M. L., & Rainey, J. (1998). A replication study of Reducing the Risk: A theory-based sexuality curriculum for adolescents. Journal of School Health, 68, 243-247. (critical comments appear on pages 247) response