More consistent use of condoms, oral contraception or both was reported by a group of teenage girls who took part in a youth development intervention aimed at reducing pregnancy risk in high-risk adolescents, according to a report.
The United States continues to have the highest rates of teen pregnancy and childbearing among industrialized nations, and each year more than 750,000 young women ages 15 to 19 become pregnant, resulting in more than 400,000 births, according to background information for the study, which appeared Feb. 25 on the website of JAMA Pediatrics (formerly the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine).
Renee E. Sieving, RN, PhD, FSAHM, of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and colleagues examined sexual risk behaviors and outcomes with a 24-month follow-up survey, six months after the conclusion of a youth development intervention.
The intervention, Prime Time, is for girls at high risk for pregnancy and designed for primary care clinics. The focus was on promoting change in selected psychosocial attributes linked to sexual risk behaviors and other behavioral outcomes through case management and peer leadership.
Of 253 sexually active 13- to 17-year-old girls who met specified risk criteria, 236 (93.3%) completed the 24-month survey. The trial included 126 girls assigned to the intervention and 127 assigned to the control group.
“Findings suggest that health services grounded in a youth development framework can lead to long-term reductions in sexual risk among vulnerable youth,” the researchers wrote.
At 24 months follow-up, the intervention reported “significantly more consistent” use of condoms, hormonal contraception and dual-method contraception (hormonal contraception plus condoms) than the control group, according to results of data from self-report surveys. The girls in the intervention also reported improvements in family connectedness and self-confidence to refuse unwanted sex, and reductions in the perceived importance of having sex.
“Together with previous findings demonstrating reductions in sexual risk behaviors, relational aggression and violence victimization among Prime Time participants, results from this study suggest that involvement in a youth development intervention that combines individualized case management and youth leadership components holds great promise for preventing multiple risk behaviors among youth most vulnerable to poor health outcomes, including early pregnancy,” the researchers concluded.
The study abstract is available at http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1655499.