Evaluation of the Be the Exception Sixth-Grade Program in Rural Communities to Delay the Onset of Sexual Behavior

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To investigate the impact of Be the Exception, a newly developed program to delay onset of sexual behaviors, in a White, rural population.


A cluster randomized controlled trial in northwestern Indiana (14 schools, 1776 students, 2011-2015) compared an intervention (5 group sessions and multimedia assembly) with a no-intervention group; both continued usual standard health education. Multilevel mixed-effects logistic regressions with 1455 students measured long-term outcomes 12 months after baseline questionnaire.


Intervention group students reported ever having had sexual intercourse and sexual intercourse in past 3 months significantly less often than did the comparison group (1.91% vs 6.29% and 1.09% vs 4.26%, respectively). No statistical differences were observed for reported sexual intercourse in past 3 months with risky behavior (1.23% vs 2.24%), without condom use (1.04% vs 1.73%), or without birth control (1.00% vs 1.53%). Cumulatively, intervention group students significantly more often reported no activity, holding hands, hugging and kissing and less often reported touching above and below the waist, other sex, or sexual intercourse.


Be the Exception is effective in delaying the onset of sexual behavior among rural middle school students.

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