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Theories and Approaches

Welcome to Theories and Approaches, a designated space to describe the thinking behind the development of adolescent pregnancy prevention strategies, activities and programs.

In this section, users will find definitions and rationales behind common theories (i.e. social cognitive theory, stages of change theory) and approaches (i.e male involvement, service learning, youth development) used in developing adolescent pregnancy prevention programs. Also included are descriptions of real programs using specific theories and approaches as well as practical steps for incorporating different theories and approaches into programs.


  • Adolescent Development
    by Kathryn Pierno
    Includes: an overview of adolescent development — key features and major questions facing adolescents; a comparison of three developmental theories — Freud's, Erikson's, and Piaget's; a discussion of the physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and behavioral aspects of adolescent development; relevant questions for those working with teens; and references.
  • BDI Logic Model

    by Doug Kirby, ETR Associates
    pdf version / 51 pages

  • Characteristics of Effective Programs
  • Chlamydia: Starting a School-Based Chlamydia Screening Treatment Program

    by Nicole Lezin and Julie Taylor, ETR Associates
    pdf version /72 pages

  • Health Belief Model (HBM)
    Definition and rationale, background information, how to apply, challenges and considerations, resources.
  • International Girls Development
    an introduction and background information on international girls development and an overview of model programs in Bangladesh, Brazil, and Philippines. Recommended strategies and references are also included.
  • Male Involvement and Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention

    by Robert Becker, ReCAPP Consultant
    pdf version/16 pages

  • Peer Education in Teen Pregnancy Prevention
    by Nicole Lezin, ReCAPP Consultant
    Includes: background information on peer education — definition, rationale and effectiveness; characteristics of effective peer education programs; challenges and benefits of peer education; case study of peer educator training curriculum; resources; sample program and evaluation forms; and more.
  • Program Evaluation Basics
    Information and links to information on planning and evaluating health education programs. Includes: slide show presentation with information on impact, outcome and process evaluation, constructing good evaluation tools, and more; sample focus group protocols; sample questionnaires and permission forms; facilitator guidelines; resources; and more.
  • Service Learning
    and its impact on pregnancy prevention, including an example of a service learning program — Teen Outreach Program (TOP)
  • Sexual Risk and Protective Factors
    Factors Affecting Teen Sexual Behavior, Pregnancy, Childbearing, and Sexually Transmitted Disease: Which are Important? Which can You Change?
  • Social Learning Theory
    What they are and how to apply them to sexuality education
  • Stages of Change Model
    by Nicole Lezin, ReCAPP Consultant
    The Stages of Change Model recognizes that behavior change is a complex process, that individuals trying to change unhealthy behavior are in different stages of that process, and that relapse is not failure but a learning opportunity. It can be a useful model for health educators and others seeking behavior change because it helps them tailor health messages and interventions to specific individuals and groups according to the stages of change they are in.
  • Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA)
    by Nicole Lezin, ReCAPP Consultant
    The Theory of Reason Action has been used to explain and predict many different health behaviors ranging from smoking to seat belt use. It is particularly relevant to sexuality education because it focuses on beliefs and values which strongly influence the decisions young people make about their sexual behavior. Includes: an introduction and definitions, key concepts, information on how TRA was developed, relevant research studies, resources and more.
  • Using Research to Improve Practice
    Information on how to interpret research on adolescent reproductive health and use this research to improve or strengthen programs. Includes a slide presentation, worksheets, an assessment form, sample profiles, links, and more.
  • Youth Development and Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention
    by Nicole Lezin, ReCAPP Consultant
    pdf version / 15 pages
  • Youth Mentoring
    by Mark Fulop
    Includes: an introduction; information about the four dimensions of designing a mentor program; what we know about youth mentoring; mentoring and pregnancy prevention; case studies; implications for practice; advice on how to get started with your own mentoring program; web, book and other resources; and references.