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Public Health. 2004 Jun;118(4):262-7.

Are support and parenting programmes of value for teenage parents? Who should provide them and what are the main goals?

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Sutton and Merton PCT, Nelson Hospital, Kingston Road, Raynes Park, London SW20 8DB, UK.



To review the evidence on what works in teenage parent support programmes; to determine the key elements of successful teenage parent support and parenting programmes; and to determine the gaps in the evidence.


Databases were searched, using a specific search strategy, for systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials, to ascertain whether social support, parenting programmes, or both, are effective in improving maternal or infant outcomes. The findings were summarized.


Only one systematic review specifically addressed interventions among teenage parents and their children, although several randomised trials have since been published.


Key questions remain for future support and parenting programmes. Social support and parenting interventions improve maternal-child interactions and child cognitive development, but do not reduce low-birth weight, stillbirth or neonatal death. Social support and parenting programmes need to be combined with measures to increase the minimum income, reduce smoking in pregnancy and increase breast-feeding rates. Robust evaluations of packages of care in the UK are needed to inform national and local teenage pregnancy strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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