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- Relative to the standard school curriculum, did the adapted version of Reducing the Risk in Kentucky change students’ behaviors, knowledge, attitudes, and intentions?
- Did the local health departments successfully deliver the program as planned?
- How much did the adapted version of Reducing the Risk cost to implement?
This brief summarizes findings from a random assignment impact study of an adapted version of the Reducing the Risk teen pregnancy prevention curriculum in rural Kentucky. Although rural counties have the highest teen birth rates in the United States, teen pregnancy prevention practitioners and researchers have developed and tested relatively few programs for youth in rural areas. To add to the research on effective pregnancy prevention approaches for youth in rural areas, the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funded a rigorous evaluation of an adapted, eight-hour version of Reducing the Risk in 13 high schools in a primarily rural area of central and southwestern Kentucky. The program was delivered by trained staff from two local health departments in Kentucky with federal grant funding from the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP).
This brief provides a final summary of key implementation and impact findings from the evaluation of the adapted version of Reducing the Risk in Kentucky. It encapsulates findings from three earlier reports that provide detailed evidence on the program’s impacts, implementation, and cost.
Key Findings and Highlights
- Trained health educators from two local health departments successfully delivered the adapted curriculum as intended as part of a mandatory health class for primary 9th and 10th-grade students.
- Relative to the standard school curriculum, the adapted version of Reducing the Risk did not change the likelihood of having sex or having sex without a condom in the three months before the two-year follow-up survey for the overall sample.
- The program did, however, reduce the likelihood of having sex without a condom in the three months before the two-year follow-up survey for the smaller sample of students who were already sexually active prior to study enrollment.
- For the overall sample, the program increased students’ knowledge of contraception and sexually transmitted infections relative to the standard school curriculum.
- After two years, the program did not change students’ attitudes, refusal skills, communication with parents, or intentions to have sex.
- The program’s impacts are commensurate with the dosage of programming offered (eight hours) and a modest operational cost of $113 per student.
Schools were randomly assigned during the 2013–2014 and 2014–2015 school years to either a treatment group that offered the adapted version of Reducing the Risk or to a control group that offered the school’s standard health curriculum. In schools assigned to the treatment group, trained professional health educators from two local health departments delivered the curriculum as part of a mandatory health class for primarily 9th‑ and 10th-grade students. Students’ outcomes were assessed through surveys administered one and two years after study enrollment.
Three earlier reports presented detailed evidence on the impacts, implementation, and cost of the adapted version of Reducing the Risk in Kentucky:
Goesling, Brian, Joanne Lee, Robert G. Wood, and Susan Zief (2018). Evaluating a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program in Rural Kentucky, OPRE Report # 2018-105, 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