Online Program

Sustaining teen pregnancy prevention programs in schools: Needs and barriers identified by school leaders

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lesley Craft, MPH, CHES, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Heather M. Brandt, PhD, CHES, Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior & Cancer Prevention and Control Program, University of South Carolina-Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Mary Prince, PhD, South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Columbia, SC
Shannon Flynn, MSW, South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Columbia, SC
Background: Schools are an appropriate setting for teen pregnancy prevention programs, especially since school-based programs are designed to reach youth where they learn. However, in order to impact rates of teen pregnancy, prevention programs must be consistently available to large numbers of youth. Regardless of the necessity for continuation of services, prevention efforts have been historically conducted with little emphasis on ensuring program sustainability. Objective: To examine the needs and barriers school leadership identify to sustaining teen pregnancy prevention programming in schools after grant support has ended. Methods: Eleven qualitative interviews were conducted between June and September 2012 with middle school leaders involved in the current implementation of a teen pregnancy prevention program in South Carolina. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically coded using NVivo 9. Results: Frequently mentioned barriers to program sustainability included: lack of resources (e.g., computer equipment, curriculum), insufficient funding (at the school and district level), lack of support and/or parental opposition, and other school/district priorities. School leaders also identified several facilitating factors to continue teen pregnancy prevention programming, including: continued funding, training for staff, outcome/effectiveness data to support the program, and regularly updated curriculum. Conclusion: Identified needs and barriers to sustainability varied across schools. Differences in perceived needs and barriers may indicate different likelihoods of sustainability. Knowledge gained through this research may be utilized to inform future interventions and sustainability planning efforts, allowing us to maximize teen pregnancy prevention programming.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify barriers to sustaining pregnancy prevention programming in schools, as identified by school leaders; Describe school and staff needs to sustaining pregnancy prevention programming in schools, as identified by school leaders; Discuss the factors school leaders determine to be the most influential in sustaining teen pregnancy prevention programs in schools.

Keyword(s): Teen Pregnancy, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My research and professional interests are focused on the sustainability of sexual health education programming in schools. I currently provide research and evaluation support on a federally funded grant implementing and evaluating evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programming in middle schools.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4374.0: Prevention of teen pregnancy