Strategies for Discussing Social Determinants of Health in Teen Pregnancy Prevention

A young man studying.

When you work with young people, you know that their health outcomes—including those related to sexual health and pregnancy—are influenced by places, such as where they live, work, and play. These non-medical factors are referred to as social determinants of health, and they can be tricky for programs to explain as they work to prevent teen pregnancy in all communities.

A free guide developed by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. shares tips and strategies for programs looking to engage stakeholders in meaningful discussions about this connection. “Communicating Effectively About Social Determinants of Health that Impact Teen Pregnancy” walks readers through the process of tailoring messages that attract attention and resonate with a variety of audiences. The 16-page guide is divided into three sections.

  • Starting conversations. Use stories that highlight the relationship between social factors and health, the authors suggest, along with phrases and questions to help audience members make these connections themselves. Sample questions include “Why are some teens healthier than others?” and “How does household income influence the health of our teens?”
  • Making presentations. The guide advises readers to know their audience and their worldviews when presenting information and to adjust language accordingly. Programs can also help diverse stakeholder groups establish common ground by avoiding politically charged or religious language, and by using words that highlight fairness and choice in addition to personal responsibility.
  • Messages that motivate. The guide presents recommendations for crafting short, clear messages. For example, each talking point should only contain one piece of data to avoid confusing audience members and diluting the key point. Readers can also borrow from a list of sample messages tailored for posters, public service announcements, and social media postings.

Read the guide online.

More on Teen Pregnancy Prevention

#NCFYtalk Recap: Working Teen Pregnancy Prevention into the Adolescent Health Conversation

Toolkit to Incorporate Adolescent Relationship Abuse Prevention Into Existing Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Programming

Q&A: Sheana Bull On Enhancing Teen Pregnancy Prevention With Text Messaging

Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.

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