Context: Despite the recent declines in rates of teenage pregnancy, relatively little is known about the few programs that have been successful in reducing adolescent pregnancy.
Methods: Six agencies in New York City each randomly assigned 100 disadvantaged 13-15-year-olds to their usual youth program or to the intervention being tested--the Children's Aid Society-Carrera program, a year-round afterschool program with a comprehensive youth development orientation. Both program and control youth were followed for three years. Multivariate regression analyses assessed the effects of program participation on the odds of current sexual activity, use of a condom along with a hormonal contraceptive, pregnancy and access to good health care.
Results: Seventy-nine percent of participants remained in the program for three full years. Female program participants had significantly lower odds than controls of being sexually active (odds ratio, 0.5) and of having experienced a pregnancy (0.3). They had significantly elevated odds of having used a condom and a hormonal method at last coitus (2.4). However, participation in the program created no significant impact on males' sexual and reproductive behavior outcomes. Nonetheless, program participants of both genders had elevated odds of having received good primary health care (2.0-2.1).
Conclusions: This program is one of only four whose evaluation has successfully documented declines in teenage pregnancy using a random-assignment design. Better outcomes among males may be achieved if programs reach them even earlier than their teenage years.