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- Relative to the standard school curriculum, did offering Teen Choice in study schools change youths’ knowledge, attitudes, and intentions six months after the program ended?
- Relative to the standard school curriculum, did offering Teen Choice in study schools change youths’ likelihood to engage in unprotected sex six months after the program ended?
This report presents evidence on the impacts of the Teen Choice curriculum for youth in alternative schools in and around New York City. Because alternative schools provide supplemental services to address the specific needs of youth, these schools often find it difficult to fit pregnancy prevention programming into the regular school day. The result is that youth enrolled in these schools often have limited opportunities to receive sexual health education. To help expand the available evidence on teen pregnancy prevention services for youth in alternative schools, the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funded a rigorous evaluation of the Teen Choice curriculum in New York. The program was delivered by trained staff from the program developer, Inwood House, with federal grant funding to the New York State Department of Health from the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP).
This report is the second of two reports on the implementation and impacts of Teen Choice in New York. It presents evidence on the program’s impacts, measured about six months after the 12-session program ended. Specifically, this report presents evidence on the impacts of Teen Choice on access to reproductive health care, knowledge of contraception and sexually transmitted infections, communication skills, healthy romantic relationships, attitudes toward abstinence and contraceptives, decision making regarding sexual intercourse, and sexual risk behavior. It also documents the study methods. An earlier process study report described the design and implementation of Teen Choice.
Key Findings and Highlights
- Six months after the program ended, Teen Choice had succeeded in increasing support for condom use among youth enrolled in the program, as well as increasing their perceived skills for saying no to sex.
- The program also reduced the percentage of youth who reported they intended to have sex in the next year.
- Six months post program, Teen Choice had no effect on rates of unprotected sex. The short follow-up period limits the study’s ability to detect effects on sexual risk behaviors and pregnancy.
The study team used a random assignment design to test the efficacy of Teen Choice as a voluntary supplement to the standard school curriculum. The study team recruited youth from five alternative schools, serving youth from 7th through 12th grades, in rolling cohorts in the New York City area from 2014 to 2016. Youth were randomly assigned into either (1) a treatment group offered Teen Choice as a voluntary program during the school day or (2) a control group offered the standard school curriculum. Youth in both research groups completed a baseline survey upon enrolling in the study and a follow-up survey six months after the program ended.
Knab, Jean, Robert G. Wood, Joanne Lee, and Lauren Murphy (2019). Delivering Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Services to High-Risk Youth: The Impacts of Teen Choice in New York. OPRE Report # 2019-49. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Personal Responsibility Education Program