Intended for healthcare professionals

Primary Care

Interventions to reduce unintended pregnancies among adolescents: systematic review of randomised controlled trials

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7351.1426 (Published 15 June 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1426
  1. Alba DiCenso (dicensoa{at}mcmaster.ca), professora,
  2. Gordon Guyatt, professorb,
  3. A Willan, professorc,
  4. L Griffith, data analystd
  1. a School of Nursing, McMaster University, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5
  2. b Departments of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario
  3. c Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, 105 Main Street East, Level P1, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 1G6
  4. d Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario
  1. Correspondence to: A DiCenso
  • Accepted 7 February 2002

Abstract

Objective: To review the effectiveness of primary prevention strategies aimed at delaying sexual intercourse, improving use of birth control, and reducing incidence of unintended pregnancy in adolescents.

Data sources: 12 electronic bibliographic databases, 10 key journals, citations of relevant articles, and contact with authors.

Study selection: 26 trials described in 22 published and unpublished reports that randomised adolescents to an intervention or a control group (alternate intervention or nothing).

Data extraction: Two independent reviewers assessed methodological quality and abstracted data.

Data synthesis: The interventions did not delay initiation of sexual intercourse in young women (pooled odds ratio 1.12; 95% confidence interval 0.96 to 1.30) or young men (0.99; 0.84 to 1.16); did not improve use of birth control by young women at every intercourse (0.95; 0.69 to 1.30) or at last intercourse (1.05; 0.50 to 2.19) or by young men at every intercourse (0.90; 0.70 to 1.16) or at last intercourse (1.25; 0.99 to 1.59); and did not reduce pregnancy rates in young women (1.04; 0.78 to 1.40). Four abstinence programmes and one school based sex education programme were associated with an increase in number of pregnancies among partners of young male participants (1.54; 1.03 to 2.29). There were significantly fewer pregnancies in young women who received a multifaceted programme (0.41; 0.20 to 0.83), though baseline differences in this study favoured the intervention.

Conclusions: Primary prevention strategies evaluated to date do not delay the initiation of sexual intercourse, improve use of birth control among young men and women, or reduce the number of pregnancies in young women.

Footnotes

  • Funding National Health Research Development Program, Health Canada; Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; Region of Hamilton-Wentworth Social and Public Health Services PHRED Program: A Teaching Health Unit affiliated with McMaster University and the University of Guelph. ADiC is a career scientist of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Accepted 7 February 2002
View Full Text