257201 Keeping Our Kids Safe: Community Focus Groups to Examine Sex Risk Behaviors in Adolescents

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 10:30 AM - 10:50 AM

Colleen Andreoni, DNP, FNP-BC, ANP-BC, CEN , Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, IL
Gina Coffee, PhD , School of Education, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL
Eva Kowalewicz, MEd , School of Education, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL
Culturally sensitive and accurate assessment is essential prior to the development and implementation of intervention programs, but is often challenging in underserved, diverse communities. School based health center providers identified a large number of pregnant teens and a high incidence of sexually transmitted infections among primarily African American and Hispanic high school students in an urban high school. Evidence based intervention programs targeted at middle school students are supported by the literature as an effective method to reduce sex-risk behaviors during high school. The first step in program selection is identification of the community's own perception of sex-risk behaviors and the community's ideas and preferences for appropriate risk reduction interventions. The Theory of Planned Behavior by Ajzen provided the theoretical framework for the project, including attitudes, social norms, and perceived control as factors influencing intention. A nurse-led interprofessional research team was formed. Nine structured focus groups (N=38) were conducted with middle school students (10-14), parents, and community adults over a one year period. Lessons learned include the importance of a realistic plan for mixed method research and focus groups in the community. Ethical and legal considerations regarding inclusion of early adolescents in sex risk focus groups needs careful consideration and methodological control. The challenges of conducting community focus groups include; recruiting participants; choosing/training culturally appropriate moderators; and planning for data collection, transcription, coding, and analysis. Genuine participation in research by low income populations requires tremendous time and effort by researchers. Recommendations for successful needs assessment and focus groups are presented.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Upon completion of this presentation the participants will be able to 1. Describe at least three successful methods to recruit culturally diverse middle school students and adult participants for focus groups in the community. 2. Identify actions researchers need to take to assure research participants' rights are protected, including the rights of minors. 3. Explain the steps necessary in collection, coding, and analysis of data obtained from community focus groups.

Keywords: Community Research, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-principal on a longitudinal study addressing the identification and interventions for adolescent sex-risk behaviors. I have been the nurse practitioner at an adolescent school based health center for five years. My professional research and clinical interests include reducing the risks for teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. I am an assistant professor in a university nursing program providing education for advanced practice students.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.