What Works In Schools: Research and Results

Four new research articles on CDC’s What Works In Schools program show that this school-based program, designed to reduce sexual risk behaviors, can also reduce other adolescent-related health risk behaviors and experiences.

What Works In Schools Program

CDC’s What Works In Schools is a three-strategy school-based program originally designed to prevent behaviors and experiences that put adolescents at risk for HIV, STI, and unintended pregnancy.

The three strategies are:
what works: health education, sexual health services, and safe and supportive environments

Prior research had shown that schools that implemented the What Works in Schools program saw significant benefits in six outcome areas:

Sexual history

(have they ever had sex)

Sexual partners

(had 4 or more lifetime sexual partners)

Sexual activity

(they had sex in the last 3 months)

School safety

(have they missed school because of concerns for their safety)

Rape

(have they ever been forced to have sex)

Drug use

(ever used or current use marijuana)

CDC’s Program Model for Healthier Youth

CDC developed a multilevel program model designed to change systems, practices, and environments in schools to address factors associated with increased adolescent health risk behaviors and experiences.

CDC’s Program Model for Healthier Youth

The influence of the What Works In Schools program extended beyond the students who participated, as improved outcomes were seen for all students at schools where the program was implemented.

The beneficial effect of the What Works In Schools program also extended beyond HIV, STD, and pregnancy prevention. Students saw reductions in multiple risk behaviors and experiences, including violence and drug (marijuana) use.

What Works in Schools program model saw significant benefits in six outcome areas
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View the impact of CDC’s prevention program in schools.