Concerned Parents  Report is dedicated to reporting information and imparting knowledge to parents so they can empower their children to make the healthiest choice for their reproductive health - living a  chaste lifestyle

Summary: The Importance of Involving Boys and Young Men in Teen Pregnancy Prevention Efforts

In order to sustain the momentum in lowering teen pregnancy and birth rates, there must be an increase in efforts to try to understand what drives boys to change their sexual behavior and then put into place responsive and effective programs and other initiatives.

  • In an article written by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the authors focus largely on the National Campaign publication, It's a Guy Thing: Boys, Young Men, and Teen Pregnancy Prevention. This publication provides data on teen boys' sexual activity, contraceptive use, and involvement in pregnancy and parenthood. It also provides a summary of what is known about the effectiveness of prevention programs for boys, and includes advice from those who work directly with boys and young men. Researchers, practitioners, parents, and others working with youth have become increasingly aware over the years of the importance of involving boys and young men in teen pregnancy prevention efforts. Rates of teen pregnancy and childbearing have declined by about one-third in recent years due, in part, to dramatic changes in the sexual behavior of teen boys. According to this article, 46% of all teen boys (not just those in high school) reported having sex in 2002. This was a 24% decrease from 1988. By comparison, there was an 11% decrease in the proportion of sexually experienced teen girls between 1988 and 2002. This study also found that more than 1 in 8 sexually experienced teen boys (13%) report they have gotten a partner pregnant. Overall, 4% of sexually experienced teen boys report having a child. To continue reducing rates of teen pregnancy and birth in the United States, it is important to increase prevention efforts that specifically target boys. However, boys-only programs are relatively new, few of them have been thoroughly evaluated, and fewer still have been shown to be effective. Therefore, it is useful to consider other sources of information on what works with boys. Overall, the programs that have been shown to be effective with boys (i.e. that delay first sex, increase contraceptive use and/or reduce pregnancy rates) have several notable characteristic. Some of them address teen sexual behavior by going beyond the classroom, such as service learning programs. Others include a cultural component that seems to contribute to program effectiveness. Also, those that extend across school years (at least two years) seem to be more effective than those shorter in duration. Although common sense suggest that boys play an important role in the decisions couples make about sex and relationships, there is still a lack of in-depth information about what influences those decisions. The good news is that growing awareness of the importance of focusing on boys has led to increased attention to collecting data, evaluation, and initiatives designed to help shape the sexual behavior of teen boys and young men. However, more information is still needed. The more that is known about boys, the more these teen pregnancy prevention programs can be tailored to address how boys view and understand sex, love, and relationships.1

1It's a Guy Thing, Boys, Young Men, and Teen Pregnancy Prevention, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Number 24, May 2006, pp. 1-6.

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