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Engaging Adolescent Males in Prevention

An estimated nine percent — or 900,000 — of young men between the ages of 12 and 16 will become fathers before their 20th birthday, based on a survey conducted in 2012. 1 Research and data collection efforts have tended to focus on female adolescents. As a result, less is known about the strategies and approaches for effectively engaging males in preventing teen pregnancies or even about their attitudes toward being a father. Clearly, the behavior of adolescent males is also central to preventing teenage pregnancy and childbearing. 2 Research and programs are increasing the focus on the role of males in teenage pregnancy and childrearing. In May 2012, OAH held an event, “Let’s Hear about the Boys: Engaging Adolescent Males in Teen Pregnancy Prevention,” to elevate the importance of engaging adolescent males in preventing teen pregnancies.

In addition, some experts note that programs focused on responsible sexual behavior should also consider including information about how to build healthy romantic relationships overall.3 This would include teaching emotional and interpersonal skills and reducing gender stereotypes.4,5


1 Scott, M. E., Steward-Streng, N. R., Manlove, J., & Moore, K. A. (2012). The characteristics and circumstances of teen fathers: At the birth of their first child and beyond. Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Child_Trends-2012_06_01_RB_TeenFathers.pdf.
2 Manlove, J., Terry-Humen, E., Ikramullah, E., & Holcombe, E. (2008). Sexual and reproductive health behaviors among teen and young adult men: A descriptive portrait. (Research Brief). Washington, DC: Child Trends. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/Teen-Sexual-Health.pdf.
3Antle, B.F., Sullivan, D.J., Dryden, A., Karam, E.A., & Barbee, A.P. (2011). Healthy relationship education for dating violence prevention among high-risk youth. Children and Youth Services Review, (33)1: 173-179.
4 Tharp, A. T., Carter, M., Fasula, A. M., Hatfield-Timajchy, K., Jayne, P. E., Latzman, N. E., & Kinsey, J. (2013). Advancing adolescent sexual and reproductive health by promoting healthy relationships. Journal of Women's Health, 22(11), 911-914.
5 Greene, M. E., & Levak, A. (2010). Synchronizing gender strategies: A cooperative model for improving reproductive health and transforming gender relations. Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau. Retrieved from http://www.prb.org/igwg_media/synchronizing-gender-strategies.pdf.
Content created by Office of Adolescent Health
Content last reviewed on March 28, 2019