ISSUE ADDRESSED: Young people have a high burden of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) problems, and it is important to reach this group through health promotion initiatives. We conducted a systematic review of reviews to identify successful elements of health promotion programs for improving SRH of young people. METHODS: We identified and collated systematic reviews published in 2005-2015 which focused on young people (10-24 years), reported on SRH outcomes (pregnancy, sexually transmissible infections, condoms/contraceptive use, risky sexual behaviour, sexual healthcare access or intimate partner violence), and included primary studies predominantly conducted in high-income countries. This report focuses on features of successful SRH programs identified in the interpretation and discussion of included systematic reviews. RESULTS: We identified 66 systematic reviews, of which 37 reported on program features which were anecdotally or statistically associated with improved program effectiveness and success. Common features of effective interventions were: longer term or repeated implementation; multi-setting and multi-component; parental involvement; culturally/gender/age appropriate; and inclusion of skills-building. SO WHAT?: There is marked consistency of features improving SRH program effectiveness for young people despite the wide variation in interventions reviewed. There is a need to better implement this knowledge in future programs, and our findings provide useful guidance for optimising the design of SRH interventions for young people.
Link to publisher’s web site