Adolescent perspectives on addressing teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in the classroom and beyond

Christopher M. Fisher, Lucille Kerr, Paulina Ezer, Aja D. Kneip Pelster, Jason D. Coleman, Melissa Tibbits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Sex education both in and beyond the classroom has been shown to have the potential to ameliorate negative sexual health outcomes for adolescents. School-based sex education and sexual health services targeting young people should be informed, in part, by teenagers themselves. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 41 young people aged 13–22 years in a mid-sized midwest US city to inform such programme development. Analysis employed both top-down and bottom-up approaches to coding. Four themes emerged regarding sex education activities in and out of school: the need for knowledge of current activities aimed at prevention; information-seeking behaviours; personal views on how to address teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs); and the ideal place to address these issues. Current activities were seen as ineffective or non-existent. Many participants indicated they would not engage actively in information-seeking unless they were affected personally by the issues. Participants’ suggestions of how to address the issues included improving school services, introducing media campaigns and having peer or trusted-adult educators. Participants identified the need for services that offered confidentiality, a non-judgemental approach and a comfortable space to meet. Through direct engagement with youth, this research makes recommendations for interventions to address teenage pregnancy and STIs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-100
Number of pages11
JournalSex Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Adolescents
  • programme development
  • sexual health
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • teenage pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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