NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Programs That Promote Good Grades and Interpersonal Skills Found to Reduce Teen Birthrate

May 21, 2002

Early sexual activity often results in a life-long detrimental impact on the lives of teens. For several decades, early pregnancy has maintained its standing as one of the United States' most persistent and troublesome social problems.

To combat these effects, researchers designed an intervention program, called the Seattle Social Development Project, based upon the social development model. Using this approach, researchers sought to promote bonding to school and family by enhancing opportunities and reinforcement children's active involvement in family and school. They also sought to strengthen children's social skills. The developmental program was found to prevent risky behaviors and to reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy.

  • Upon reaching age 21, females in the study experienced 38 percent pregnancies compared to 56 percent of those without social training.
  • At 21, only 23 percent had given birth compared to 40 percent without training.
  • Those who had participated in social training reported fewer sexual partners than those in the control group.

The authors concluded that a theory-based social development program that promotes academic success, social competence and bonding to school during the elementary grades can prevent risky sexual practices and adverse health consequences in early adulthood.

Source: Heather S. Lonczak et al., "Effects of the Seattle Social Development Project on Sexual Behavior, Pregnancy, Birth, and Sexually Transmitted Disease Outcomes by Age 21 Years," Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, May 2002.


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