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Designing a Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Program: The Behavioral Performance Theory
Crow, Thomas , & Pillai, Vijayan K.


Pregnancy rates among teenagers in the United States are substantially higher than among teenagers in other developed countries. This occurs because U.S. teenagers use contraception less than their counterparts in other countries. Over the last quarter-century, programs developed to encourage American teenagers to use contraception have been very limited in their effectiveness.

In 1991, five recognized behavioral theorists came together in a workshop sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health to develop an approach to curbing the spread of AIDS among high-risk populations. The authors of this book adapted the approach developed in the workshop to arrive at a theory on which they based a new approach to designing teenage pregnancy prevention programs. The new approach and the theory, Behavioral Performance Theory, are described in the book.

The theory holds that three factors are necessary and sufficient for a teenager to use effective contraception. This has two important implications. First, it explains why past programs have been so limited in their effectiveness: Unless all three factors are present, a teenager will not use contraception. Second, it augurs a future in which the effectiveness of teenage pregnancy prevention programs is greatly increased: If all three factors are present, a teenager will use effective contraception.


“Every year, nearly a million American teenagers become pregnant. Although the number of teenagers who become pregnant has decreased in recent years, American teenagers continue to carry a higher pregnancy risk when compared with teens from other developed countries ... In general the ‘best practices’ approach now advocated by both governmental and nongovernmental agencies strongly promotes research and evaluation designs conducive to generalizability and theory building ... This book is a welcome addition to a very small and diverse collection of books that offers assistance in the development of theory-based teenage pregnancy prevention programs and proposes an approach to designing theory-based programs. It chooses a behavioral theory and provides step-by-step direction for selecting and interlinking activities aimed at teenage pregnancy prevention ...” – (from the Foreword) Professor Hector L. Diaz, The University of Texas at Arlington

“The United States continues to be plagued by high teenage pregnancy rates, despite recent reductions. Research on the impact of both primary and secondary pregnancy prevention has continued to show disappointing results. As a lead-in to their work, the authors suggest that results may be improved by the use of theoretically appropriate programming. The authors systematically review the state of teenage pregnancy in this country – prevalence rates and the consequences of teenage pregnancy – building a case for the need for effective interventions. They then present a theoretical model, behavioral performance theory, a theory formed when a number of expertswere brought together to address the problem of AIDS prevention. The authors argue convincingly that such a model is applicable to teen contraceptive use, and demonstrate how the model can be adapted to the needs of different populations of adolescents. In this way, the authors’ work contributes to the field by advancing the theoretical knowledge base for the prevention of adolescent pregnancy.” – Professor Jacqueline Corcoran, Virginia Commonwealth University

“As a social work practitioner, I found the book extremely important in providing the essential knowledge that would enable me to design and implement an adolescent pregnancy prevention program that is evidenced-based and outcome-driven. The book provided a 'recipe for success' ... While this study offered an extensive set of variables and an abundance of information to consider, practitioners would be wise to consider the authors’ counsel when desiring to develop successful teenage pregnancy prevention programs. Using this methodology would ensure that resources are used prudently and the outcome has a greater potential to be attained.” – Francine Esposito Pratt, Chair-Elect of the North Central Texas HIV Planning Council and Adjunct Faculty, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas

Table of Contents

Foreword by Hector L. Diaz
1. Background
2. Too Few Programs or Too Few Effective Programs?
3. How can Programs be More Effective?
4. The Generic Part of a Program
5. The Nongeneric Part of a Program
6. Evidence that Programs can be Successfully Implemented
7. Summary and Assessment

ISBN10:  0-7734-5955-3   ISBN13:  978-0-7734-5955-7    Pages:  144    Year:  2006   

Series: hors série Number: 0

Subject Areas:  Health Studies, Sociology & Social Sciences, Social Services & Medicine,

Imprint: Edwin Mellen Press

USA List Price: $109.95 UK List Price: £ 79.95  

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