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Fun with Numbers

Timothy Kincaid

September 21st, 2007

mathmagic.JPGIt’s a Friday. It’s time for Fun With Numbers.

Today’s exercise looks at Exodus’ retention rates. Let’s assume, for the sake of this exercise, that the sample used by Yarhouse and Jones is representative of all new Exodus participants and see what it tells us.

To start we know that 98 participants started in the study (point A) and that at some point 30 to 48 months later (point C) there were only 73. We’ll take three years as our point C for the simplicity of math. Further, we know that at the midpoint (point B) there were 85.

This tells us that between point A and point B there was a retention rate of 86% (85/98) and that between point B and point C there was also a retention rate of 86% (73/85).

But wait. We also know that of the 98 participants, 57 were new and 41 were one to three years into the program. Just for fun, let’s apply our retention rates backwards to see if we see anything about these participants.

If we assume the same retention rates, the 41 would have been 48.2 a year and a half before and 56.7 at three years back.

Wow, that’s the same as the current size sample. Perhaps a coincidence? Or perhaps this suggests that there is a consistent drop off rate of 15% every year and a half that continues for at least four years. This translates into roughly a 91% retention rate per year.

Now let’s make some guesses about how many new participants there are each year in Exodus programs.

The researchers claim that not all Exodus ministries were willing to cooperate. Even after pressure from Yarhouse and Jones and, presumably, Exodus national. So let’s suppose that only a third of new Exodians participated in the study.

Well then, in any given year there would be about 171 new Exodians. With a 91% retention rate, the following six years would show retention of these Exodians of 156, 142, 129, 117, 106, and 96. Let’s charitably assume that after six years there is no longer any drop off at all.

Obviously each new year brings more Exodians to count up. There would be 171 new participants and 156 hold overs from the previous year along with 142 from the year before that. And so on.

Also, we have to assume that these participants will some day die. Since the average age of participants was listed at 37.5 years, let’s assume they’ll live for another 40 years to the ripe old age of 77.

So let’s see how many years it would take to reach Alan Chambers’ favorite number of “hundreds of thousands”.

OH NO!!! We can’t get there!! It turns out that with the above assumptions, the number of Exodians participating in Exodus ministries plateaus in its 39th year at 3,989. (Thank God we stopped dropping off in the sixth year or it would plateau at 1,854).

Oh gosh!! Well, maybe Yarhouse and Jones got less than 1/3 participation. Maybe only one out of ten Exodians joined the study and maybe really each year there are 570 new recruits. Ah, that’s much better. The peak participation rises to 13,430.

But that’s still a far cry from “hundreds of thousands”. In order for there to be 100,000 participants ever at Exodus, with a 91% annual retention rate for six years after which there is NO drop off, and a 40 additional year life expectancy (and participation), Exodus would have to have 4,249 new participants each year, or an average of 28 new participants each year in each of Exodus’ 150 affiliates (news reports suggest that the total membership in any given group is in the single digits).

Which would mean that Yarhouse and Jones’ study used a 1.3% population sample of 57 and called it representative. Or, alternately, that Chambers’ claims of “hundreds of thousands” is nothing more than a figment of his imagination. You do the math.

Comments

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Emily K
September 21st, 2007 | LINK

Suck on THAT, Exodus!

howller
September 21st, 2007 | LINK

On page 18 of the study, Jones and Yarhouse indicate that the sampling was partly determined by geographical location:

“This study examined a group of individuals at least somewhat representative of persons taking part in their respective Exodus ministries. At the time we initiated this study, Exodus had about ninety ministries in the United States. We sought the participation of ministries based on their geographical proximity to sites where we could establish interview teams, so a subsample of Exodus ministries were contacted based on location rather than representativeness. Of the ministries contacted, a number declined to participate by referring participants to us, and this introduces further unknown variation in our sample. Of the ministries that agreed to participate, some referred all of their participants to us (as described later) while others clearly referred only a sample, again introducing unknown variation in our sample.”

Lynn David
September 21st, 2007 | LINK

As my grade school teacher used to say….

SHOW YOUR MATH!!

grantdale
September 21st, 2007 | LINK

Emily! And you always seemed such a nice Jewish girl. /snort.

Timothy — we’re thinking alike… more from us soon.

Ben in Oakland
September 22nd, 2007 | LINK

Dammit. don’t confuse me with facts and numbers. Damn homosexual agenda. I knows what I knows and I don’t want to knows anything else.

Steve Schalchlin
September 23rd, 2007 | LINK

Statistically speaking, considering the fact that there are millions of gay people, exgays don’t exist at all. They’re about as plentiful as unbroken potato chips in a bag that’s been run over by a car. The only reason they even make any headlines at all is because the political right wing funds them for political purposes. They are useful tools for people who need them to win votes. Without that funding, they would evaporate like raindrops in the desert.

Does the fact that Alan Chambers supposedly have sex with his wife make him not gay? Well, long ago, someone told me that they cure their HIV by drinking bleach. He stood right there and said it worked. It did not make me want to drink bleach.

Alan Chambers, whose paycheck depends upon his inflammatory remarks and political speeches, is drinking the right wing bleach and telling the rest of us that we should also take a big swig.

They’re losing the American public. They’ve already lost the next generation of young people, and though there will always be a couple of hundred of them scattered around the country, that number will never rise. And as soon as the American public is tired of homophobia, they’ll disappear from public view — as they should.

Soignereadone
January 21st, 2009 | LINK

Nothing seems to be easier than seeing someone whom you can help but not helping.
I suggest we start giving it a try. Give love to the ones that need it.
God will appreciate it.

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