Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Programs and Research: A Time To Revisit Theory

Eric Jenner, PhD; Sarah Walsh, PhD


Am J Public Health. 2016;106(s1):S28-S29. 

In This Article


Those of us engaged in the study of the effectiveness of adolescent pregnancy prevention interventions under the Office of Adolescent Health funding have dedicated time and effort to ensure the technical quality of these investigations; we have applied rigorous methods and adhered to careful reporting standards so that the estimates from our randomized trials or high-quality quasi-experimental studies can have a credible causal interpretation.

As we seek to interpret the results from this research, individually and cumulatively, it is an appropriate time to critically revisit the ideas—the theories—that ostensibly form the basis of the programs we are studying. While behavioral outcomes are rightly the focus of the Department of Health and Human Services' evidence review and Office of Adolescent Health's Teen Pregnancy Prevention program, understanding why these programs influence youths (or fail to do so) requires a shift of focus to the intervention's logic model.