The real difference is their more conservative and religious home and social environment. As she notes, when you compare both groups in this study with teens at large, the behavioral differences are striking. Here are just a few:
- These teens generally have less risky sex, i.e., fewer sexual partners.
- These teens are less likely to have a teenage pregnancy, or to have friends who use drugs.
- These teens have less premarital vaginal sex.
- When these teens lose their virginity they tend to do so at age 21 — compared to 17 for the typical American teen.
- And very much overlooked, one out of four of these teens do in fact keep the pledge to remain chaste — amid much cheap ridicule and just about zero support outside their homes or churches.
So the big media hit piece on religious teens was wrong because it compared pledge-taking religious teens to other religious teens, found a minor statistical difference, and hyped it into an “ironic” story.