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Review: primary prevention strategies do not delay initiation of intercourse, improve contraceptive use, or reduce pregnancies in adolescent women

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QUESTION: Do primary prevention strategies delay sexual intercourse, improve use of contraception, and reduce unintended pregnancies in adolescents?

Data sources

Published and unpublished studies from 1970–2000 were identified by searching CATLINE, CINAHL, Conference Papers Index, Dissertation Abstracts Online, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, ERIC, Medline, NTIS, POPLINE, PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register; handsearching 10 key journals (1993–2000); reviewing the bibliographies of retrieved articles; and contacting experts.

Study selection

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in any language were included if they assessed the effects of pregnancy prevention programmes for adolescents (11–18 y) on initiation of sexual intercourse, use of birth control, or unintended pregnancy. Prevention programmes included sex education classes, school based clinics, family planning …

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  • For correspondence: Dr A DiCenso, School of Nursing, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. dicensoa{at}

  • Abstract also appears in Evidence-Based Medicine

  • Sources of funding: National Health Research Development Program, Health Canada; Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; Region of Hamilton-Wentworth Social and Public Health Services PHRED Program.