Online Program

Effect of a school-based teen pregnancy prevention program on parent-adolescent communication about sex

Monday, November 4, 2013

Katherine Flaherty, MPH, Health Services Division, JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc., Boston, MA
Wendy Chow, MPH, Health Services Division, John Snow Inc. (JSI), Boston, MA
Rhea Gordon, Healthy Futures, Reading, MA
Tamara Calise, Dr.Ph, M.Ed, Health Services Division, John Snow Inc. (JSI), Boston, MA
Background: Research suggests that parents are influential on adolescents' decisions about sex. However, many adults are unsure of what to say and exactly how or when to begin conversations with their children about sex, contraception, and relationships. School-based programs can help facilitate these conversations. Methods: 1,088 sixth grade students attending public middle schools in Massachusetts (N=14) received either Healthy Futures (HF), an 8-day comprehensive, school-based teen pregnancy prevention program with one of the aims to increase parent-adolescent communication about sex (n=514) or a 2-day control curriculum (n=574). Students who completed a pre-test on the first day and a posttest 7 days later were analyzed. Results on the parent-adolescent communication measure from year 1 (2011-2012) of the 3-year HF program are reported. Results: Pre-test showed similar parent-adolescent communication rates between HF and control students. At post-test, HF students were more likely to have talked to their parents about sex. The communications about sex scores significantly improved (p<0.05 for all) between pre-test and posttest for HF students: pregnancy prevention (50% to 56%), abstinence (49% to 56%), HIV/STD protection (45% to 51%), and condoms (37% to 46%). Control students showed no improvement between pre-test and posttest. HF students with returned signed parent connection forms had greater communications. Conclusion: HF was successful in significantly increasing parent-adolescent communications about sex. School-based sex education programs should engage parents, such as by including interactive parent connection forms as utilized by HF, to help initiate and encourage parent-adolescent communications about sex.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the effect of a school-based teen pregnancy prevention program, with an interactive parent component, on parent-adolescent communication about sex.

Keyword(s): Teen Pregnancy Prevention, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have managed multiple adolescent health projects, including the evaluation of Healthy Futures (a school-based, teen pregnancy prevention program). My public health interests include adolescent health, teen pregnancy prevention, substance abuse prevention, reproductive and sexual health, and program evaluation.
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.