It is appropriate that medical research should focus on matters of social and individual health.
At least three powerful obstacles confront the development of a realist structure-disposition-practice research programme into the substantive area of teenage pregnancy and the sexual activity of young people.
These can be identified as, (i) the privilege given to forms of statistical explanation that favour a positivist over a hermeneutic account, embedded in the practical-theoretical "at risk" concept; (ii) the preference for behaviourist and reductionist models that isolate behaviour from its social context; and (iii) the support given to an authoritative concept of culture that inhibits recognition of actual and lived cultural practices.
Social practices should not be confused with the level of behaviour; they are socially recognised ways of doing things that are taken up, perhaps as "discourses", by people in a certain frame of mind.
This theoretical agenda is combined with an integrated "numbers and narratives" methodology.