No Crystal Ball Needed: Teens Are Heading in the Wrong Direction

Changing Behavioral Risk for Pregnancy among High School Students in the United States, 1991-2007
By: John S. Santelli, Mark Orr, Laura D. Lindberg, and Daniela C. Diaz
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Between 2003 and 2007, the progress made in the 1990s and early 2000s in improving teen contraceptive use and reducing teen pregnancy and childbearing stalled, and may even have reversed among certain groups of teens, according to “Changing Behavior Risk for Pregnancy Among High School Students in the United States, 1991–2007,” by John S. Santelli et al. Between 1991 and 2003, teens’ condom use increased while their use of no contraceptive method declined, leading to a decreased risk of pregnancy and to declines in teen pregnancy and childbearing. These new findings paint a very different picture since 2003.

Using data from young women in grades 9–12 who participated in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the authors estimated teens’ risk of becoming pregnant based on their sexual activity, the contraceptive method they used and the effectiveness of that method in preventing pregnancy. The authors found no change in teen sexual activity between 2003 and 2007, but did find a small decline in contraceptive use.

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