Jay's World of Abstracts 00004
'Promising Approaches to Preventing Teen Pregnancy' by the
National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Chapter Two.
[Standard disclaimer: The nature of abstracts are
that they are pieces of something larger. Not everyone is going to be
happy with my choice of abstracts from any larger work, so if you are
dissatisfied, I would refer you to the original document, which should
be able to be found on the Internet. I encourage others to make their
own abstracts to satisfy their needs.
An abstract from "Promising Approaches to Preventing
Pregnancy" by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen
Pregnancy, Chapter Two.
The Three Stages of Adolescence
[Note: Teens of different ages have
different concerns and
problems that affect how they feel about themselves and others.]
Early Adolescence (9-13 years old)
- significant physical/sexual maturation
- concrete thinking
- increasing influence of peers
- growing independence in decision-making
- transition from elementary to middle or junior high
- Start programs younger. The
groundwork for prevention must be laid in the early adolescent years.
Early adolescents need tools and skills to deal with the messages they
are already hearing.
- Take concrete thinking into account.
Focus on familiar, real-life situations, not abstract future
possibilities (such as "what would your life be like if you had a
baby"). Ask young teens to practice communication, decision-making, and
negotiation skills using situations they face every day.
- Give the same information to boys and girls.
Young teens need information about the other gender as well as their
own. One reason for inappropriate language of activity around sexuality
issues is that a person may be seeking answers to questions.
- Teach about healthy and unhealthy
relationships. This is a good time to help young teens think
about the qualities friends should have, what healthy and hurtful
friendships look like, and how to choose enhancing, not risky
Middle Adolescence (13-16 years old)
- continuing physical/sexual changes
- intense focus on body image
- beginning the capacity to think abstractly
- enormous influence of peers/school environment
- Use peer educators. Given the
inportance of peers in this group, peer educators can help create
social norms around abstinence and contraception. Their modeling of
good coping, negotiating, and decision-making behaviors can have a
- Include oportunities for safe risk-taking.
Programs can provide for middle teens to take physical risks (ropes
courses, field trips to new places, new types of activities) and
emotional risks (role plays). These opportunities can help teens build
relationships and learn about trust, responsibility, sharing feelings,
expressing needs, and weighing and taking risks.
- Help parents stay connected to their teens.
Middle teens need independence as well as careful supervision. Parents
struggle with finding this balance and the a sense of loss as their
child grows up. Programs should allow parents to vent these feelings
and provide opportunities to be together.
- Take cognitive changes into account.
Programs need to be attuned to middle teens' shifts between concrete
and abstract thinking. Hands-on learning is good; lectures are
Late Adolescence (16 years old and older)
- physical/sexual changes complete
- capacity for abstract thought in place
- adult cognitive functioning
- family influence in balance with peer influences
- transition to work, college, independent living
- Reach 18- and 19-year-olds where they are.
Look beyond colleges. Reach late adolescents through their workplaces,
churches, community organizations.
- Use the media. TV, radio,
advertising, print, and the Internet can be used to reach this audience
and to illustrate the importance of establishing oneself before
becoming a parent. Use media to publicize pregnancy prevention services
- Re-cast 18 and 19 as part of adolescence.
Most concern about tee pregnancy focuses on girls younger than 17.
However, most teen pregnancies occur to 18- and 19-year-olds. Older
adolescents also nee the message that it is better to wait until one is
established before having a baby.
Reaching all Teens
Experience over many years and types of programs has
that a few key program techniques and basic educaiton strategies
can help to increase the effectiveness of a teen pregnancy
Helpful Program Characteristics
- Provide both single and mixed-gender settings.
- Include a diversity of teens in programs as participants
and peer educators.
- Give teens strong role models.
- Help teens postpone sexual intercourse.
Promising Educational Strategies
- Involve teens in their own learning.
- Help teens examine their values and beliefs.
- Make materials and examples relevant to the audience.
- Use instructors who are comfortable with the course
- Work with what participants already know.
- Match written materials to the literacy level of
The Bottom line of Successful Programs:
them participant-centered, not planner-centered.