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BMJ. 2009 Jul 7;339:b2534. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b2534.

Health outcomes of youth development programme in England: prospective matched comparison study.

Author information

  • 1Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, London WC1H 0NR.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the effectiveness of youth development in reducing teenage pregnancy, substance use, and other outcomes.

DESIGN:

Prospective matched comparison study.

SETTING:

54 youth service sites in England.

PARTICIPANTS:

Young people (n=2724) aged 13-15 years at baseline deemed by professionals as at risk of teenage pregnancy, substance misuse, or school exclusion or to be vulnerable.

INTERVENTION:

Intensive, multicomponent youth development programme including sex and drugs education (Young People's Development Programme) versus standard youth provision.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Various, including pregnancy, weekly cannabis use, and monthly drunkenness at 18 months.

RESULTS:

Young women in the intervention group more commonly reported pregnancy than did those in the comparison group (16% v 6%; adjusted odds ratio 3.55, 95% confidence interval 1.32 to 9.50). Young women in the intervention group also more commonly reported early heterosexual experience (58% v 33%; adjusted odds ratio 2.53, 1.09 to 5.92) and expectation of teenage parenthood (34% v 24%; 1.61, 1.07 to 2.43).

CONCLUSIONS:

No evidence was found that the intervention was effective in delaying heterosexual experience or reducing pregnancies, drunkenness, or cannabis use. Some results suggested an adverse effect. Although methodological limitations may at least partly explain these findings, any further implementation of such interventions in the UK should be only within randomised trials.

PMID:
19584408
PMCID:
PMC2714682
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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