Document Type



Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health


This thesis explores adolescent pregnancy in San Jose, Costa Rica and examines a school-based pregnancy prevention intervention. The relationships between school, gender and risk of adolescent pregnancy are also analyzed, and recommendations are made for effective pregnancy prevention programming. The Purral region of Guadalupe on the outskirts of San Jose, Costa Rica, suffers a higher rate of adolescent pregnancy compared to the rest of the country. In response to this problem, the International Health Central American Institute (IHCAI) implemented a sexual health education program in two local secondary schools in 2006. Very little information about the program is available. It is known that the program was initially evaluated through assessments of the participants’ knowledge before and after the educational sessions. There was no evaluation of the youth attitudes or behaviors, adolescent pregnancies, or long-term impact. The author worked with IHCAI in San Jose, Costa Rica to perform an assessment of the longer term effects of this sexual health education program. They developed a questionnaire to evaluate the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding sexual health of youth in the Purral community. Researchers at IHCAI later used this survey to collect data from adolescents who had participated in the educational intervention and those who had not. This thesis analyzes the data collected by IHCAI to assess the effectiveness of the - 2 - educational intervention and the influence of other factors on the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of adolescents in the Purral region. The thesis begins with an overview of adolescent pregnancy, Costa Rica and the Purral region, and a description of the education intervention implemented by IHCAI. The research goal, logic model, and methods are then described. The results are reported, and the thesis then concludes with discussion of the results as well as study limitations and recommendations for future research and intervention. This thesis will be used to guide IHCAI’s continuation and expansion of adolescent pregnancy prevention programming.

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