Beginning Too Soon: Adolescent Sexual Behavior, Pregnancy and Parenthood. A Review of Research and Interventions.. Review of Recent Research


The process leading to teenage pregnancy involves a sequence of turning points or events. Our review of research evidence in the full research report is organized around these turning points and events, including sexual intercourse, use of contraception, pregnancy, and pregnancy resolution. The flow chart shown in Figure 1 presents these transitions graphically. Interventions can be implemented at any or all of these stages. The initial and primary risk behavior for adolescent pregnancy and parenthood is having sexual intercourse, including the frequency with which adolescents have sex. Among sexually active adolescents, the degree of pregnancy risk depends largely on their frequency of intercourse and consistent use of effective contraceptives. As shown in Figure 1, sexually active adolescents who do not consistently use contraceptives will usually become pregnant and have to face potentially life altering decisions about resolving their pregnancy through abortion, adoption, or parenthood. A summary of recent research about each of these issues is provided below.