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J Adolesc Health. 2010 Mar;46(3 Suppl):S42-58. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.11.216.

Confidence as a predictor of sexual and reproductive health outcomes for youth.

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  • 1Division of Adolescent and School Health, CDC, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.



To assess the association between four positive youth development (PYD) constructs of confidence and adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) outcomes.


We searched nine online databases to locate behavioral research that examined the association between four constructs of confidence (belief in the future, self-determination, clear and positive identity, and self-efficacy) and ASRH outcomes (e.g., ever had sex, condom use, contraception use, number of partners, pregnancy/birth, and sexually transmitted infection). Findings were coded as "protective," "risk," or "no association." The presence of at least two longitudinal studies reporting consistent significant associations for at least one ASRH outcome indicated evidence for a protective or risk association.


We found evidence to support two of the four PYD constructs of confidence (belief in the future and self-determination) as protective factors for ASRH outcomes. Evidence was insufficient to draw conclusions about clear and positive identity as a protective factor, and was mixed for self-efficacy. Measures of confidence varied considerably across the studies reviewed, reflecting varying definitions; often, the measures used had limited information on reliability. Few longitudinal investigations were identified, and available studies were inconsistent in how they examined the association between the PYD constructs and ASRH outcomes. Evidence for most constructs was insufficient to identify their influence on specific sub-groups of youth.


Despite the need for additional research, this review suggests that belief in the future and self-determination are promising protective factors. Further research is needed to better understand the potential for self-efficacy and clear and positive identity as protective factors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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