Comprehensive Reporting of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Programs (Journal Article)

Publisher: American Journal of Public Health, vol. 106, issue S1 (subscription required)
Sep 30, 2016
Authors
Russell P. Cole

What is the takeaway of a special issue of a journal that contains a number of small, nonsignificant impacts of adolescent pregnancy prevention programs on behavioral outcomes? The Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) funded a large number of evaluations to improve the evidence in the field—and presenting the entire body of results, including the nonsignificant findings, is good science. This is a collection of high-quality evaluations, with analyses and results that have been guarded against identifying spurious findings (P-hacking) as a result of prespecified analysis plans and multiple rounds of independent review. Therefore, we can trust these impact results as credible estimates of program effectiveness, and they should become a part of the knowledge base for adolescent pregnancy prevention research.

Above and beyond providing funds to generate evidence of the effect of new programs and replication evidence of existing programs, OAH also funded comprehensive evaluation technical assistance support to these grantee-led studies to increase the likelihood of high quality, credible impact evaluations that showed statistically significant effects of the programs on behavioral outcomes. The evaluation designs were strengthened through an initial review process, the analytic approaches were prespecified during an analysis plan review, the impact analyses were conducted with multiple sensitivity and robustness assessments to guard against potential error, and the final analyses and reporting underwent several rounds of independent review. Because of this evaluation technical assistance effort, these studies produced credible impact estimates of the effect of the programs, as implemented in each study setting.