Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre

Child Trends: What Works For Male Adolescents

ChildTrends This resource from the US examined a large number of programs aimed at improving negative behaviours among male teens and analysed what worked and what did not work. 

"115 programs reviewed to uncover what works for adolescent males..."
This factsheet and results report contains links to 115 programs evaluated as being effective in different areas for males. It is therefore a useful starting point for evlauation of the kinds of programs that work in promoting learning and behaviour change in adolescent males.

Priority Areas Of Evaluation

  • Academic Achievement (such as school performance, grades)
  • Delinquency (violence, crime, arrests, juvenile detention, recidivism)
  • Externalizing or Acting out behaviors (behavior problems such as aggression, hyperactivity, or violence)
  • Mental Health/Internalizing (Depression) Outcomes (depression symptomatology, social rejection, and suicide)
  • Physical Health and Nutrition (dietary habits, BMI, weight or physical activity)
  • Reproductive Health & Sexuality (such as sexual activity, condom and contraceptive use, impregnation or births)
  • Social Skills (getting along with others, conflict resolution, or empathy)
  • Substance Use (such as alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana or illicit drugs)

Summary Headings Of What Does Work

Academic Achievement

  •  Adult tutoring and/or mentoring services
  • Inclusion of parent-centered activities and trainings


  • Intensive and high dosage programs
  • Manualized curricula
  • Family Inclusion

Externalising or acting out behaviours

  • School-based interventions
  • Trained professionals
  • Structured curriculum-based interventions
  • Family-cohesion components

Mental Health or internalising behaviours

  • Parent-focused interventions

Physical Activity

  • High frequency and high intensity programs
  • Combining physical health education with exercise

Reproductive Health & Sexuality

  • Experiential-learning activities
  • Community- or clinic-based programs for male adolescents
  • Mentoring for African American males
  • Video- and/or audio-infused curriculums

Social Skills

  • Parent education and training
  • Adult mentoring
  • Group sessions for elementary school-aged boys

Substance Use

  • Manualized interventions for male children and adolescents
  • Heavy focus on health consequences of substance use
  • Self-esteem building activities
  • Brief interventions for college-age adolescents


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