Interventions to Prevent Child Marriage Among Young People in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review of the Published and Gray Literature

Amanda M. Kalamar, Susan Lee-Rife, Michelle J. Hindin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Child marriage, defined as marriage before the age of 18 years, is a human rights violation that can have lasting adverse educational and economic impacts. The objective of this review was to identify high-quality interventions and evaluations to decease child marriage in low- and middle-income countries. PubMed, Embase, PsycInfo, CINAHL Plus, Popline, and the Cochrane Databases were searched without language limitations for articles published through November 2015. Gray literature was searched by hand. Reference tracing was used, as well as the unpacking of systematic reviews. Retained articles were those that were evaluated as having high-quality interventions and evaluations using standardized scoring. Eleven high-quality interventions and evaluations were abstracted. Six found positive results in decreasing the proportion married or increasing age at marriage, one had both positive and negative findings, and four had no statistical impact on the proportion married or age at marriage. There is wide range of high-quality, impactful interventions included in this review which can inform researchers, donors, and policy makers about where to make strategic investments to eradicate marriage, a current target of the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite the cultural factors that promote child marriage, the diversity of interventions can allow decision makers to tailor interventions to the cultural context of the target population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S16-S21
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016



  • Adolescent
  • Child marriage
  • Low-income countries
  • Middle-income countries
  • Young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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