Program

Jan 16, 2013

OVERVIEW

Teen Talk is a teen pregnancy prevention program based on
the health belief model and on social learning theory. A large-scale
evaluation compared Teen Talk with similar programs that lacked Teen Talk’s theoretical foundation. This evaluation found
that Teen Talk is somewhat more effective than similar programs for males, but
not for females. Among teenagers who had never had intercourse prior to
participation in the study, males assigned to the Teen Talk program were
significantly more likely to maintain abstinence over the next year than were
males assigned to existing programs. And among teenagers who became
sexually active before entering the study, males assigned to the Teen Talk
program became significantly more consistent users of effective contraception
over time than did males assigned to existing programs.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Teenagers

Teen Talk is a six-session, 12 to 15-hour intervention.
It is intended to familiarize teenagers with their personal susceptibility to
becoming pregnant or causing a pregnancy and to increase their awareness of the
serious negative consequences associated with teenage maternity and paternity.
The Teen Talk curriculum highlights the benefits of delayed sexual activity and
consistent, effective contraceptive use and aims to decrease the psychological,
interpersonal, and logistical barriers associated with abstinence and
contraceptive use.

Teen Talk has four broad content areas: factual information,
group discussion of factual information, group discussion of values, feelings,
and emotions, and discussion of decision-making and personal
responsibility. Program activities include lectures, simulations,
leader-guided discussions, role-playing, games, and films.

The Teen Talk curriculum is based on the health belief model
and on social learning theory. The health belief model suggests that an individual’s willingness to undertake preventative actions
(such as contraceptive use) is related to that individual’s
perceptions of personal susceptibility to the problem, the seriousness of the
problem, and the costs and benefits associated with undertaking preventative
action. Social learning theory predicts that teenagers will be better
able to avoid pregnancy if provided with opportunities to observe both
appropriate and inappropriate behavior and chances to participate in role plays
that help them learn to act out appropriate behavior.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Note: The following study evaluated the initial version of
the Teen Talk program. When the study was conducted, the curriculum was
still in development and was not referred to by its current name. This
summary employs the current program name for purposes of clarity.

Eisen, M., Zellman, G.L., & McAlister,
A.L.
(1990).Evaluating the
Impact of a Theory-Based Sexuality and Contraceptive Education Program. Family
Planning Perspectives, 22(6)
, 261-271.

Evaluated population: In the mid-1980s, six family
planning service agencies and one independent school district were selected to
participate in this study. Selected agencies were from Texas
and California
and serviced both urban and rural communities. Each agency recruited a
sample of clients according to usual agency recruitment methods. 1444
recruits consented to a baseline interview. All recruits were between the
ages of 13 and 19. 15% were White, 24% were Black, 53% were Hispanic, and
8% were Asian. 58% lived with both of their parents.

Approach: Each agency randomly assigned recruits to a
control group or to a group that would receive the Teen Talk
intervention. Assignment was by individual or by classroom unit,
depending on agency requirements.

The purpose of this study was not to evaluate whether the
Teen Talk program was more effective than no intervention at all, but rather to
see whether Teen Talk’s basis in the health belief
model and social learning theory rendered it more effective than existing
programs. For this reason, students assigned to control groups did receive
a sex education intervention – specifically, whatever program was currently in
effect at their agency.

Existing programs varied from agency to agency, but
typically covered reproductive biology, contraceptives, STDs, dating, sexual
values, and decision-making. Unlike Teen Talk, these programs did not
focus on teenagers’ perceptions of their own susceptibility to pregnancy, nor on the seriousness of pregnancy. Further, these
programs did not weigh the benefits of using birth control against the barriers
to attaining it. In general, these programs involved less active student
involvement than did the Teen Talk program and none used role-playing or
role-reversal more than occasionally.

The Teen Talk Program was led by educators who had attended
a two-day training seminar on the curriculum. These educators led Teen Talk’s six sessions over the course of two to three weeks.
In many cases, agencies whose existing program was shorter than the Teen
Talk program adjusted their program to better match the Teen Talk program on
number and length of sessions.

All study participants were interviewed before taking part
in a program, immediately after completing a program, and again 12 months
later. Of the original 1444 recruits, 1328 (92%) completed the immediate
follow-up interview and 888 (62%) completed the one-year follow-up.
Interviews assessed sexuality-related knowledge, beliefs, and behavior.

Results: Immediately following the intervention,
study participants assigned to the Teen Talk program had significantly higher
scores on a test of sexual knowledge than did teenagers assigned to existing
programs.

In spite of the Teen Talk program’s
explicit focus on perceptions of susceptibility to pregnancy, seriousness of
pregnancy, benefits of birth control, andbarriers to
attaining birth control, teenagers assigned to the Teen Talk intervention were
no more likely to have changed their perceptions about any of these matters
than were teenagers assigned to existing programs.

Among teenagers who had never had intercourse prior to
participation in the study, males assigned to the Teen Talk program were
significantly more likely to maintain abstinence over the next year than were
males assigned to existing programs. This difference was not observed
among females.

Among teenagers who became sexually active during the study,
females assigned to the Teen Talk program were actually significantly less
likely to be consistent users of effective contraception and to have used
contraception the last time they had sex than were females assigned to existing
programs. This difference was not observed among males

Among teenagers who became sexually active before entering
the study, males assigned to the Teen Talk program became significantly more
consistent users of effective contraception over time than did males assigned
to existing programs. This difference was not observed among females.

Further analyses revealed that the Teen Talk program was
more effective for males than females, particularly non-Hispanic males.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Program materials available for purchase at

http://www.socio.com/srch/summary/pasha/paspp02.htm

References:

Eisen, M., Zellman, G.L., & McAlister,
A.L. (1990).Evaluating the Impact
of a Theory-Based Sexuality and Contraceptive Education Program. Family
Planning Perspectives, 22(6)
, 261-271.

KEYWORDS: Adolescence (12-17), Youth (16+), Young Adults
(18-24), Clinic-Based, School-Based, High School, Black or African American,
Caucasian or White, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, Urban, Rural, Life Skills
Training, Peer Pressure, Reproductive Health, Teen Pregnancy, Risky Sex, Sexual
Initiation, STD/HIV/AIDS, Abstinence, Contraception, Condom Use

Program information last updated on
5/1/07.