Teen pregnancy prevention: do any programs work?

Annu Rev Public Health. 1999;20:257-85. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.20.1.257.

Abstract

This paper begins with a review of the problem of teen pregnancy in the United States. Domestic trends are compared with those of other developed countries. Antecedents of the problem are discussed. New developments in addressing the problem are then described, including the following: (a) a renewed emphasis on abstinence on the one hand; (b) a move toward a more positive view of teen sexuality on the other; (c) the development of new prevention initiatives such as STD/HIV/AIDS prevention programs, community-wide teen pregnancy prevention collaboratives, broad-based youth development programs, and state and local government initiatives; and (d) the lauching of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. An analysis of the different ways in which the problem can be framed and the implications for solutions of the problem follow. Examples of promising teen pregnancy and STD/HIV/AIDS prevention programs are provided. The paper ends with a recommendation for an eclectic approach to framing the problem and possible solutions.

PIP: The US has the highest teen birth rate in the developed world, about 4 times higher compared to countries in Europe. Broad social and environmental factors, such as poverty and social disorganization, high residential turnover, high divorce rates, and poor parental support and supervision put teens at greater risks of pregnancy. Individual characteristics, such as poor school performance, low expectations for the future, high aggression, difficulty getting along with peers, and early pubertal development make particular teens additionally vulnerable. New developments described in this document include: 1) renewed emphasis on abstinence; 2) moving toward a more positive view of teen sexuality; 3) development of new prevention initiatives, such as sexually transmitted disease (STD) and HIV/AIDS prevention programs, community-wide teen pregnancy prevention collaboratives, broad-based youth development programs, and state and local government initiatives; 4) launching of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. An analysis of the different ways in which the problem can be framed and the implications for solutions of the problem follow. Furthermore, this study presents several examples of STD and HIV/AIDS prevention programs. This paper ends with a recommendation for an eclectic approach to framing the problem and possible solutions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Family Planning Services / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / statistics & numerical data
  • Program Development
  • United States / epidemiology