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Adolescent pregnancy: combating the problem from a multi-systemic health perspective


, : Adolescent pregnancy: combating the problem from a multi-systemic health perspective. Journal of Health Education 24(4): 219-227

Presented is a multi-systemic theoretical model of adolescent pregnancy that incorporates the school-peer-family-community systems and defines a role for health educators. It is noted that teenagers receive conflicting messages from the adolescent socialization community--all the institutions, individuals, and mass media that influence and shape development. To cope with these multiple, inconsistent messages, many adolescents respond with inconsistent behavior given the impossibility of pleasing all sources of influence. Health educators must coordinate the school-peer-family-community systems to achieve more congruence and less competition surrounding inputs into the daily life of young people. The potential to disseminate sex education is greatest in the school context, where information can be provided on a systematic, regular basis to reinforce learning. Since peers are a major reference group during adolescence, per counseling can be used effectively to discuss factors that lead to unwanted pregnancy and help clarify values. Sex education programs are strengthened by the involvement of parents, and interventions aimed at promoting parent-child communication around sexual issues have been demonstrated to delay the onset of sexual activity. The availability of an adolescent health clinic, either in the school or close by, has been shown to reduce adolescent pregnancy. Overall, the most effective adolescent pregnancy prevention programs are those that are comprehensive in substance and duration.

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PMID: 12287597


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