Abstinence-based programs for prevention of adolescent pregnancies. A review

J Adolesc Health. 2000 Jan;26(1):5-17. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(98)00126-8.


PIP: This article assesses the abstinence-based programs developed by family life educators and the factors associated with positive results through a review of abstinence promotion programs of the federal government. In 1996, Section 510 was added to Title V of the Social Security Act allocating US$50 million annually from 1998-2000 to fund abstinence education programs, while in 1997, a National Strategy to Prevent Teen Pregnancy was launched by the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention to provide teen pregnancy programs to at least 25% of the communities. Presented in this paper is a discussion of the Abstinence Only programs, which focus on the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease among adolescents, and the Abstinence Plus programs, which emphasize other prevention methods as well as abstinence. Evaluation of Abstinence Only programs include Success Express, Project Taking Charge, Sex Respect, Teen Aid, Values and Choices and Facts and Feelings. Moreover, programs such as Reducing the Risk, Postponing Sexual Involvement, Project Education Now, and Babies Later were evaluated under the Abstinence Plus programs. Several programs evaluated have shown to have a positive effect on attitudes among adolescents, but are not proven to have a significant effect on sexual behavior. In conclusion, this article encourages exploration of new approaches to address teen pregnancy and the increasing incidence of sexually transmitted diseases among adolescents, while the federal government must utilize the implementation of existing programs with positive effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration*
  • Needs Assessment / organization & administration
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / prevention & control*
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Sex Education / organization & administration*
  • Sexual Abstinence*
  • United States