WEDNESDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- England's Young People's Development Programme, modeled on the successful U.S. Children's Aid Society's Carrera program and aimed at delaying heterosexual experience, reducing teen pregnancies, cannabis use and drunkenness, did not work and may have increased teen pregnancies, according to a study published online July 7 in BMJ.
Meg Wiggins, of the University of London, and colleagues conducted a study of 2,724 young people aged 13 to 15 years who were assessed at one of 54 service sites across England and deemed to be vulnerable to or at risk of teen pregnancy, substance misuse or school exclusion. The participants either received standard youth service provision or an intensive program of youth development with sex and drugs education activities.
Whereas 16 percent of the young women in the intervention group reported pregnancy, only 6 percent of the control group did; and while 58 percent of the intervention group reported early heterosexual experience, only 33 percent of the control group did so, the researchers discovered.
"Although we cannot be certain whether peer group and labeling effects explain our results, we would suggest that any future implementation should ensure that the intervention does not inadvertently bring participants, in particular young women, into contact with more risky peers," the authors write.
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