Preventing pregnancy in high school students: Observations from a 3-year longitudinal, quasi-experimental study

Jonathan A Gelfond, Nicole Dierschke, Diana Lowe, Kristen A Plastino

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Objectives. To assess whether a sexual health education intervention reduces pregnancy rates in high school students. Methods. We performed a secondary analysis of a 3-year quasi-experimental study performed in South Texas from 2011 to 2015 in which 1437 students without a history of pregnancy at baseline were surveyed each fall and spring. Potentially confounding risk factors considered included sexual behaviors, intentions, and demographics. The outcome measure was self-reported pregnancy status for male and female students. We performed analyses for male and female students using separate discrete time-toevent models. Results. We found no difference in pregnancy rates between intervention and comparison students within the first 3 years of high school. Female and male students in the intervention groups had pregnancy hazard ratios of, respectively, 1.62 (95% CI = 0.9, 2.61; P =.1) and 0.78 (95% CI = 0.44, 1.48; P =.4) relative to the comparison groups. Conclusions. The educational intervention had no impact on the pregnancy rate. Social media tools in pregnancy prevention programs should be adaptive to new technologies and rapidly changing adolescent preferences for these services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S97-S102
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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