Engaging Adolescent Males in Prevention

While research and data collection efforts have tended to focus on female adolescent parenthood, an estimated eight percent of young men will become fathers before their 20th birthday.1 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.3

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.4 This would include teaching emotional and interpersonal skills and reducing gender stereotypes.2,4 Programs that teach youth to think through how a teen pregnancy might get in the way of their long-term life goals are also particularly effective interventions.5


1 U.S. Census Bureau (2020). Stats for stories: Father’s day: June 21, 2020. https://www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/fathers-day.html back to top

2 Parekh, J., Johnson, M., & Manlove, J. (2018, May 15). Young men play an important role in pregnancy prevention. Child Trends. https://www.childtrends.org/young-men-play-an-important-role-in-pregnancy-prevention back to top

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, January 25). Educating and engaging young men in reproductive health. https://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/about/educating-engaging-young-men-reproductive-health.htm back to top

4 Barbee, A. P., Cunningham, M. R., van Zyl, M. A., Antle, B. F., & Langley, C. N. (2016). Impact of two adolescent pregnancy prevention interventions on risky sexual behavior: A three-arm cluster randomized control trial. American Journal of Public Health, 106(S1), S85–S90. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303429 back to top

5 Child Trends. (n.d.). El camino. https://www.childtrends.org/project/el-camino back to top