Young women’s lived experience of participating in a positive youth development programme: The “Teens & Toddlers” pregnancy prevention intervention

Annik Sorhaindo, Adam Fletcher, Kirsten Mitchell, Tricia Jessiman, Peter Keogh, Chris Bonell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
256 Downloads (Pure)



Evaluation of the Teens & Toddlers (T&T) positive youth development (PYD) and teenage pregnancy prevention programme suggested that the intervention had minimal effectiveness partly due to its unclear theory of change. This study examines the lived experiences of young women participating in the programme to contribute to a clearer understanding of intervention process and potential mechanisms.


We conducted four focus groups (n=20), eight paired or triad interviews (n=12) and 15 interviews with young women participating in an RCT of the T&T programme in England, analysing these data using a phenomenological approach.


T&T provided some opportunities to experience the ‘five Cs’ that underpin PYD programme theory: competence, confidence, connection, character and caring. However, the young women did not experience the programme in a way that would consistently develop these characteristics. The lack of opportunities for skill-building and challenge in the activities constrained their ability to build competence and confidence. Some programme facilitators and counselors were able to achieve connections and caring relationships with the young women, though other adults involved in the programme were sometimes perceived by the participants as overly critical. The character development activities undertaken in the programme addressed attitudes towards sexual risk-taking.


Few studies of the PYD approach examine young people’s perspectives. This research suggests that the young women were not consistently provided with opportunities to achieve youth development within the T&T programmes. In refining the programme, more thought is needed regarding how delivery of particular components may facilitate or impede a PYD experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-371
Number of pages16
JournalHealth Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Schools
  • Young people
  • Qualitative methods
  • England
  • Sexual health promotion
  • Asset development in youth

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