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Theses Doctoral

Teen Incentive Program: A Research and Evaluation Model for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention

Smith, Marcia Ann Bayne

For many American adolescents, the decision to delay pregnancy is a manifestation of attitudes and behaviors which increase their ability to avoid unplanned pregnancies. Poor self-perception and external locus of control, in turn, are considered to be major determinants of the quality of decisions that many adolescents make. Research informs us that many factors: family, environmental and psychological, come together to motivate the adolescent's self-perception and perception of the risks of pregnancy and childbearing. To motivate the freshmen at an inner city high school, a three phase program of interventions using professional staff from a nearby hospital was developed. Built into this program was a research component based on the classic experimental design. The sixty students in the experimental group met once weekly for eight weeks in small groups of 10-12 each, to learn social interaction, communication, and decision-making skills as well as family planning and male/female sexual responsibility. Additionally, condoms were distributed free of charge along with encouragement to use them whenever a decision was made to have sex. The six week career mentorship component of the program made it possible for these students to try out a possible life career by spending time with a professional person in a chosen area of health care. The students then returned to their groups for a six week termination phase. Pretesting, based on the Nowicki-Strickland test and the Rosenberg scales showed no differences between the control and experimental groups, and incremental improvement after treatment which was not statistically significant, however, posttests results show a significant increase in the use of contraception amongst sexually active program participants. In addition, frequency of sexual activity decreased by more than one half after treatment. Students who completed the program participated in a graduation ceremony and were given certificates. These young men and women gave very positive evaluations to the program. More significantly, many of them have returned as volunteers and peer mentors to work with a new group who have just started the new program cycle.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Schinke, Steven Paul
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 4, 2015
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