Model Empowering Youth to Resume Abstinence and Seek Optimal Health Now, 2017-2022

Project Overview

The goal of this project is to develop conceptual and program models to assist sexually-experienced youth in avoiding sexual risk for the prevention of teen pregnancy and other associated risks related to teen sex.

For the conceptual model, the research team will identify risk and protective factors associated with sexual risk cessation; the knowledge, skills, and behaviors associated with sex delay among youth; short- and long-term outcomes associated with sexual risk cessation; and key measurement constructs. Two primary activities will inform conceptual model development: (1) a comprehensive and structured literature review of the theoretical foundation of sexual risk cessation and the evidence on the effectiveness of program approaches, including public health messaging related to sexual and other risk behaviors; and (2) input from a set of experts on teen development and risk-taking behavior.

For the program model, the research team will consider the conceptual model work in order to identify/adapt/develop a sexual risk cessation program model for teen pregnancy prevention. The program model will focus on hypothesized mechanisms of action for addressing risk and protective factors for youth abstinence, for changing knowledge/skills/behaviors, and for improving short- and long-term outcomes. Afterwards, the team will adapt existing programs per the features of the hypothesized program model. This task will set the stage for future implementation evaluation of adapted programs, informing both the field and the public health community about the model.  

This project is being conducted under contract to Mathematica Policy Research and is overseen by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, in collaboration with other partners at the Administration for Children and Families and HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.

The points of contact are Tia Zeno, Seth Chamberlain, and Kathleen McCoy.