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The effectiveness of combined alcohol and sexual risk taking reduction interventions on the sexual behaviour of teenagers and young adults: a systematic review

Ahankari, A. S.; Wray, J.; Jomeen, J.; Hayter, M.


A. S. Ahankari

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Dr Jane Wray
Senior Lecturer in Nursing, Senior Clinical Nurse Advisor NHSEI

J. Jomeen

M. Hayter


Objectives: To conduct a systematic review to summarise currently implemented interventions investigating their effectiveness in reducing alcohol use and sexual risk taking behaviour in teenagers and young adults.

Study design: Systematic review

Methods: Studies published in English language with both, alcohol and sexual risky behaviour reduction interventions were searched using five electronic database platforms. All review tasks such as study screening, selection, data extraction, quality rating, and synthesis were performed in accordance with systematic review guidelines.

Results: The review included 18 studies. Fifteen studies were RCTs, while three were interventional studies having pre and post intervention analysis. Overall study duration ranged from 6 months to 24 months. The retention rate decreased with an increase in study duration and ranged from 60% to 80% for majority of studies, while some studies particularly planned for a shorter period had a higher retention rate (≥ 90%). Study site showed a range of patterns (in schools/college= 5, at family level/home environment= 3, web based= 2, sexual health clinics=2, mental health clinics= 1, community level = 1, and juvenile detention facility= 4). The study quality assessment showed that most studies were of medium to high quality. Evidence from this systematic review suggests that following interventions young people are less likely, to engage in risky sexual behaviour and choose harmful alcohol drinking. The major factors influencing individuals during adolescence and early adulthood include local cultural norms, acceptability of casual sex, and binge drinking trends in the teenage and young communities. It was also observed that study setting and target population determine the type of intervention required and impacts on outcomes.

Conclusions: This reviews suggests that interventions to reduce risky sexual behaviour and alcohol consumption work in teenagers and young adults. However, selection of appropriate intervention type/design, delivery methods, and follow-up plans are key elements to ensure both uptake and success of such intervention projects.


Ahankari, A. S., Wray, J., Jomeen, J., & Hayter, M. (2019). The effectiveness of combined alcohol and sexual risk taking reduction interventions on the sexual behaviour of teenagers and young adults: a systematic review. Public health, 173, 83-96.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 17, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 27, 2019
Publication Date 2019-08
Deposit Date Jun 18, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jun 28, 2020
Journal Public Health
Print ISSN 0033-3506
Electronic ISSN 1476-5616
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 173
Pages 83-96
Keywords Sexual health; Alcohol; Adolescents; Young adults; Risky behaviour; Sexual behaviour
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