Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has sponsored an ongoing systematic review of teen pregnancy prevention research to identify programs with evidence of effectiveness in reducing teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and associated sexual risk behaviors. The HHS Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Evidence Review was created in response to the 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which indicates that teen pregnancy prevention programs must be "proven effective through rigorous evaluation to reduce teenage pregnancy, behavioral risk factors underlying teenage pregnancy, or other associated risk factors." Mathematica Policy Research conducts the TPP Evidence Review, which is sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, and the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).
As of February 2015, Mathematica had identified 37 programs meeting the review criteria for evidence of effectiveness. These criteria require programs to show evidence of at least one favorable, statistically significant impact on at least one sexual risk behavior or reproductive health outcome of interest (sexual activity, number of sexual partners, contraceptive use, STIs, or pregnancy). In addition, the supporting research studies must meet established criteria for the quality and execution of their research designs. The review team follows pre-specified criteria to assess study design, sample attrition, baseline equivalence, reassignment of sample members, and confounding factors. We detail the review procedures later in this brief.
Mathematica has recently updated the review findings to cover research released from July 2014 to August 2015. As part of this update, the review team identified and assessed evidence for 16 new programs that prior rounds of the review did not include. Seven of these 16 programs met the review criteria for evidence of effectiveness, bringing the total number of programs meeting this criteria to 44 (37 programs from earlier rounds of the review plus the 7 newly identified programs). The review team also identified and assessed newly available evidence for 7 programs highlighted in previous rounds of the review. We discuss this evidence later in this brief.