Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting

The Teen Pregnancy PuzzleŠ

The Teen Pregnancy Puzzle graphically demonstrates the complexity of teen pregnancy prevention and the need for comprehensive solutions. Research has shown that these twelve components are key to reducing teen pregnancy.

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Economic Security
60% of teens who become parents are living in poverty before they become pregnant.  70% of unmarried teen mothers receive public assistance within five years of giving birth.  Communities must provide affordable housing, living wage jobs, academic and career education and child care to all families in need.

Community Collaboration and Support
A multifaceted approach to teen pregnancy prevention is the best method of prevention.  All sectors must be included in a grassroots effort.

Sexual Violence Prevention
Up to 70 percent of teen mothers have a history of sexual abuse.  60 percent of women who had sex before age 15 report having had sex involuntarily.  Communities and schools must provide violence prevention and early intervention services.

Responsible Media Messages
Prime time TV contains roughly three sexual acts per hour.  Teach teens critical viewing skills and develop media campaigns that promote positive health messages.

Teen Parent Services
Teen parents and their children are at high-risk for school failure, poverty and future teen pregnancies.  Academic, parenting and child care services are needed to ensure positive parenting skills and school success for teen parents and their children.

Comprehensive Sexuality Education
Rseearch shows knowledge and behavior changes resulting from comprehensive sexuality education.  Schools, community organizations and religious congregations need to provide age-appropriate, medically accurate sexuality education for children, youth and parents.

Academic Support
Youth with higher grade point averages are more likely to delay sexual involvement than lower-achieving youth.   Students need tutors, mentors and support services to ensure academic success.

Teen Health Services
Adolescents underutilize health services and often lack health insurance.  Teens need access to confidential, comprehensive and affordable physical and mental health services provided by trained adolescent health practitioners.

Value Diversity
Programs must reflect and respect the values and practices of communities.  Community members must be involved in developing culturally specific and multicultural programs.

Parent and Adult Involvement
Teens who feel connected with their parents are more likely to remain sexually abstinent and use contraception consistently.  Communities must develop education programs giving parents and other caring adults skills in communicating about sexual health.

Chemical Abuse Prevention
Teens who experiment with sex also experiment with drugs and alcohol.  28 percent of sexually active high school students report having used alcohol or drugs at last intercourse.   Communities need to make substances less accessible in homes and businesses.

Youth Development
Adolescents connected to and valued by family, schools and community are more likely to postpone sexual activity and delay pregnancy.  Communities must provide opportunities for meaningful youth involvement.

For more about what your community can do, MOAPPP has developed a Teen Pregnancy Puzzle Manual to accompany this outline.  If you would like to order a copy, please contact MOAPPP at 651-644-1447 or print out an order from by clicking on the above link.

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