221 Adolescent Pregnancy

Based on research by Malpass, Roy S. and Devine, Patricia G. (1981) written by the American Psychological Association, adapted by Juanita N Baker, Ph.D.

What has been found effective to reduce teen pregnancy? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), although teen rates continue to drop, the U.S. rate is still substantially higher than in other western industrialized nations with almost 250,000 babies born to women 15-19 years old in 2014. Research shows that one in five adolescents will have sex before the age of 15 and most do not use protection consistently.

There is little scientific evidence that abstinence-only programs work. Those few studies showing positive results did not use comparison groups or adequate subject sampling strategies. Only teen pregnancy prevention programs whose efficacy and effectiveness have been well-established through sound scientific methods should be supported for widespread implementation.

Based on over 15 years of research, the evidence shows that comprehensive sexuality education programs for youth that encourage abstinence, but focus on caring relationships, teach sexual communication skills, and promote appropriate condom use reduce HIV-risk behavior and also delay the onset of sexual intercourse.

Ensure effective sex education classes are available to all youth.


Collins, C., Alagiri, P., Summers, T. & Morin, S.F. (2002). Abstinence Only vs. Comprehensive Sex Education: What are the arguments? What is the evidence? AIDS Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, Policy Monograph Series – March 2002.

Keller, S.E., Barlett, J.A., Schleifer, S.J., Johnson, R.L., Pinner, E., & Delaney, B. (1991). HIV-relevant sexual behavior among a healthy inner-city heterosexual adolescent population in an endemic area of HIV. Journal of Adolescent Health, 12, 44-48.

Kirby, D., Korpi, M., Barth, R.P. & Cagampang, H.H. (1997). The Impact of the Postponing Sexual Involvement Curriculum Among Youths in California. Family Planning Perspectives, 29, 100-108.

For more details see:


American Psychological Association, September 15, 2006



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