Exploring the content and delivery of relationship skills education programmes for adolescents: a systematic review

Astrid Janssens*, Sharon Blake, Matt Allwood, Jan Ewing, Anne Barlow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review


This paper reviews published research and gray literature on education programmes which aim to teach young people aged between 11 and 18 skills to develop and maintain healthy intimate relationships. Programmes focussing solely on sexual (risky) behaviour, HIV prevention or partner violence were not the focus of this review and thus excluded. Systematic searches were conducted and 76 English language programmes were reviewed, with 17 identified as meeting the inclusion criteria. Characteristics of the included programmes (aims, target audience, content and delivery method) are described. Most programmes were designed to be delivered in school by a teacher covering a broad age range (5 years or more) and focused on the intrapersonal and interpersonal dimensions of relationships reflecting adult therapeutic relationship educational models. Future research should focus on further developing and evaluating the content and delivery of relationship skills education programmes grounded in young people’s social and cultural context within a framework of human rights.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019



  • programmes
  • Relationship skills
  • relationships and sex education
  • secondary school students
  • systematic review

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