Sexual and reproductive health for youth: review of evidence for prevention

Literature Reviews
67 p.

This report systematizes existing knowledge of effective interventions in the area of juvenile sexual and reproductive health. Its goal is to provide information for designing effective programs, particularly those related to teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and risky sexual behaviors in Latin America and the Caribbean. Drawing on rigorous evidence, this innovative tool is designed to support operations by focusing on the identification and analysis of promising practices. Additionally, the document provides background information on key characteristics and operational components of the various chosen interventions. Among the main findings highlighted by this study are the lack of a single recipe for the design of effective interventions and the importance of tailoring the intervention to fit the targeted population and its cultural context. Innovative and noteworthy components of the selected programs include communication techniques that promote and encourage youth participation; thematic reinforcement through socio-emotional development; creation of incentives for risk aversion through the promotion of self-regulation mechanisms; and attention to the interaction and influence of parents and peers. Challenges for effective interventions include such issues as sustainability, cost effectiveness, expansion, replicability, and demonstrated validity of results—with regard to this last point, the design and evaluation of impact mechanisms are especially important. Finally, the paper identifies several innovative lines of experimental research in the social sciences: studies of the influence of peers, of juvenile brain plasticity and the window of opportunity it provides for behavioral change, and of incentive mechanisms based on inter-temporal preferences, all offer promising tools for the promotion of healthy development.

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