Once programs intended to prevent teen pregnancy are said to work, do they continue to work and have an impact when replicated elsewhere?
New findings from Abt Associates on the impact of replications of four evidence-based program models funded under the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program provide important insights for policy makers and program planners. Findings include programs that show an effect on sexual risk behaviors and those that do not.
Results are featured in the American Journal of Public Health which published four research replication articles by Abt staff and colleagues in a special edition of the journal in September, Building the Evidence to Prevent Adolescent Pregnancy: Office of Adolescent Health Impact Studies (2010-2015).
Replicating Studies to Test Effectiveness
“These replication evaluations provide important information for field workers, program administrators, and policymakers who need to know whether a program model is living up to the claims made for it, and whether the impacts, if any, persist beyond the end of the intervention,” said Meredith Kelsey, principal associate at Abt and co-author of several of the published articles.
The articles include:
- “Replicating Reducing the Risk: 12-Month Impacts of a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial;”
- “Replicating the Safer Sex Intervention: 9-Month Impact Findings of a Randomized Controlled Trial;”
- “Replicating ¡Cuídate!: 6-Month Impact Findings of a Randomized Controlled Trial;” and
- “Scalability of an Evidence-Based Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program: New Evidence from 5 Cluster Randomized Evaluations of the Teen Outreach Program.”
The first three articles present short-term findings from three linked evaluations that make up the TPP Replication Study conducted by Abt for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) and the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH). Both offices are part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The fourth article synthesizes findings from an evaluation of the Teen Outreach Program (TOP), conducted by Abt for the Human Services and Public Health Department of Hennepin County, Minn., and findings from four other independent evaluations of the same intervention.
Mixed Results for Many Teen Pregnancy Programs
The TPP Replication Study took place over five years and involved nine grantees awarded TPP grants. Abt evaluated three evidence-based models, each replicated by three grantees, to determine the effectiveness of a:
- Widely-used sexuality education curriculum generally delivered in schools;
- Clinic-based intervention designed to reduce risky behavior in sexually-active young women; and
- Program designed to reduce sexual risk behavior, delivered in school or community settings, culturally tailored to Latino/Hispanic youth.
Abt’s TOP study for Hennepin County study took place over the same period, and studied the effectiveness of a widely-used youth development and service learning program, delivered in schools, in reducing sexual risk behaviors among youth.
In these studies, researchers determined:
- The Safer Sex Intervention produced significant changes in sexual behaviors and sexual risk behavior;
- Reducing the Risk did not change sexual behavior, but did demonstrate positive impacts on knowledge about and and attitudes towards sexual risk behavior and protection;
- ¡Cuídate! had no impact on sexual behavior, but was effective in improving knowledge and attitudes; and
- The TOP program had no impact on sexual risk behavior across five studies.
Read more about this work:
The Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Replication studies
Teen Outreach Program (TOP) Final Impact report
Press Release: Abt Associates to Study the Effectiveness of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs