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Youth-Friendly Family Planning Services for Young People: A Systematic Review Update

      Context

      Youth-friendly family planning services may improve youth reproductive health outcomes. A systematic review conducted in 2011 was updated in 2016 to incorporate recent data examining the effects of youth-friendly family planning services on reproductive health outcomes and the facilitators and barriers facing young people in accessing family planning services.

      Evidence acquisition

      PubMed, POPLINE, EMBASE, and other databases were used to identify relevant articles published from March 2011 through April 2016.

      Evidence synthesis

      Eighteen studies met inclusion criteria and were added to 19 studies from the review conducted in 2011. Of these, seven assessed the effect of youth-friendly services on outcomes: two showed a positive effect on reducing teen pregnancy, three on contraceptive use, and three on knowledge and patient satisfaction (not mutually exclusive). Facilitators or barriers were described in 32 studies. However, none were RCTs and most were at high risk for bias due to selection, self-report, and recall bias among others.

      Conclusions

      The studies in this review suggest some positive effects of youth-friendly family planning services on reproductive health outcomes, but the need for more rigorous research persists. This review identified numerous factors relevant to young people's access to family planning services, reaffirming findings from the initial review: young people value confidentiality, supportive provider interaction, specialized provider training, and the removal of logistic barriers. Further, it illuminates the importance young people place on receiving comprehensive, client-centered family planning counseling. These findings should be considered when developing, implementing, and evaluating reproductive health services for young people.

      Theme information

      This article is part of a theme issue entitled Updating the Systematic Reviews Used to Develop the U.S. Recommendations for Providing Quality Family Planning Services, which is sponsored by the Office of Population Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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