Mental Health Promotion in Schools

Volume: 2

Adolescent Pregnancy: Rejecting Preference via ‘Profiles in Courage’ in Policy and Practice

Author(s): Kimberly M. Wickersham, Raymond J. Waller, Suzanne Tew-Washburn and Sherrionda H. Crawford

Pp: 104-130 (27)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681083230116020008

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Ideally, best practice methods are built upon an edifice of informed policy guided by the low star of serving student best interests. Unfortunately, such a stalwart foundation is non-existent for many psychosocial and educational initiatives. In fact, it is lamentably common for policy to be constructed on a sand dune comprised of presumption, special interests, or intuition. Unfortunately, innumerable examples exist to warn us that human behavior is frequently counterintuitive, increasing the risk of policy decisions guided by presumption or face validity. While abstinence-only efforts to reduce adolescent pregnancy and associated adverse outcomes sometimes occurring as a result of high risk sexual behavior might have initially been defended as plausible, the evidence is compelling that such efforts are ineffective compared with other methods. Pregnancy and risk reduction policy and practice supported by empirical inquiry are discussed, and this issue is presented as an example actually and conceptually representative of divergence of public policy from the body of scientific knowledge.

Keywords: Abstinence, Contraceptives, Peer education, Sexual activity, Sexually transmitted infections.

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