Effective Programs Database: Interventions With Evidence of Success

The programs included in this database are a compilation of programs listed in several National Campaign reports. In particular, the programs are those that have been found to have some evidence of success changing teens’ behavior. Specifically, the programs had to delay the initiation of sex, improve contraceptive use, and/or decrease teen pregnancy (including secondary pregnancy/births).

The programs included in this data, were gathered from:

What Works 2011: Curriculum-Based Programs That Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy
What Helps in Providing Contraceptive Services for Teens

Please note that the inclusion criteria used to identify the programs detailed in each of these publications differ slightly. Thus, there is not one set of inclusion criteria for the Interventions with Evidence of Success database.

In general, programs included in this database were evaluated using either an experimental or quasi-experimental design (with follow-up data collection), and the evaluation measured and found evidence of the program’s impact on behavior.  Programs were also implemented in the United States, with teens, and were completed (or published) in 1980 or later.

It is important to note that, in general, those programs that have been evaluated using an experimental design provide stronger evidence of effectiveness than those evaluated through a quasi-experimental design.

The Interventions with Evidence of Success database will continue to be updated as new program evaluation information is available.  In the future, programs will be eligible for inclusion in the database if the program evaluation includes at least the following characteristics:

  • Been completed and published in 1980 or later;
  • Been conducted in the United States or Canada;
  • Been targeted at middle and/or high school aged teens, approximately ages 12-18;
  • Included baseline and follow-up data (for at least 3 months);
  • Measured impact on behavior;
  • Included at least 75 people in both the treatment and the control groups;
  • Used sound statistical analyses; and
  • Used an experimental or quasi-experimental evaluation design. 


A Note of Caution about Effective Programs

Even those programs that have been shown to be effective in changing teen sexual behavior may have relatively modest results.  This is due in part because programs often serve only a fraction of the kids in the area who are at risk, and is particularly true when a program is poorly funded.  Consequently, it is important to think carefully about what an effective program actually can accomplish. Keep in mind that there may very well be a number of creative programs that are effective in helping young people avoid risky sexual behavior that simply have not yet been evaluated.

A group of teenage girls