Theories & Approaches
Mentoring and Pregnancy Prevention
A literature search on formal mentoring programs addressing adolescent pregnancy prevention reveals only a handful of published studies that currently serve as guideposts for mentoring as a pregnancy prevention strategy.
- Two studies from this literature support the role of informal mentors as positive influences on educational aspirations and alcohol use of pregnant and parenting teens (Rhodes, Gingiss, & Smith, 1994; Klaw, & Rhodes, 1995).
- In another study (Zippay, 1995), teen mothers who were paired with professionally employed mentors demonstrated advancement in their education and employment.
- An exploratory study of the Missouri Volunteer Resource Mothers (MVRM) — a community-based mentoring program for pregnant and parenting teens — described the mentoring program and its positive effects (Blinn-Pike & Mingus, 1997; Blinn-Pike, Kuschel, McDaniel, Mingus, & Mutti, 1998).
The MVRM study demonstrated that compared to a non-mentored comparison group, the mentored group who received mentoring for at least one year demonstrated increased knowledge of infant health, fewer infant hospital visits, reductions in child abuse potential, greater commitment to breast-feeding, reduced feelings of distress and loneliness, and a zero percent repeat pregnancy rate.
The studies described above look at mentoring as a strategy to prevent secondary pregnancy. No studies were found describing mentoring as a primary pregnancy prevention strategy. However, the absence of these studies does not necessarily mean that mentoring is not effective as a primary prevention strategy. Rather, at this time, the literature gives us the most confidence in the potential of mentoring as a prevention strategy for repeat or second pregnancies. (See case studies.)
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