Letters

Reducing unintended pregnancy among adolescents

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7367.777/a (Published 05 October 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:777

Authors did not give balanced interpretation of their findings

  1. Seth M Noar, senior research associate
  1. HIV Prevention Research, Department of Communication, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
  2. School of Postgraduate Medical Education, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL

    EDITOR—DiCenso et al provided a rigorous, systematic review of randomised, controlled trials to reduce unintended pregnancies in adolescents.1 They did not, however, provide a balanced interpretation of their findings. Specifically, the main research question in the study and the conclusions that were drawn from it are inconsistent. Since within 21 of 26 trials reviewed, or 81%, the control condition was actually conventional sex education, this was not a study about whether or not sex education works.

    Rather, this was a study that compared the efficacy of theory driven sex education with conventional sex education. What DiCenso et al found, contrary to previous findings,2 is that theory driven sex education did not outperform conventional sex education. The strongest conclusion that can be drawn is that in this select group of studies, the two conditions come out equal in terms of behavioural outcomes. It …

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