Online Program

Using text messaging to engage youth in a teen pregnancy prevention program

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

Amber Leytem, MNM, Denver Health - Denver Public Health Department, Denver, CO
Caroline Leeds, BA, Denver Health - Denver Public Health Department, Denver, CO
Leslie Pickard, BA, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, Denver, CO
Sheana Bull, PhD, MPH, Community and Behavioral Health, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO
Judith Shlay, MD, MSPH, Denver Public Health Department, Denver Health, Denver, CO
For youth, text messaging is a preferred communication method and offers an inexpensive and effective way to connect. Texting is a tool to bring educational equity to high-risk youth, including youth of color. Through a 4-year intervention, we deliver supplemental text messages to reinforce and intensify an effective teen pregnancy prevention program. We partner with Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver to deliver Wyman's Teen Outreach Program (TOP®), a 25-week program at eight branches each year. We randomly select four branches to deliver our intervention, a supplemental text message program to enhance TOP® program components by providing additional content to reinforce information provided through TOP®. We are in the second year of project implementation. A total of 24,689 initial SMS text messages were sent to 221 intervention participants from October 2011 to May 2012 and September 2012 to December 2012 (to be updated). Participants received texts through cell phones (75%), web-based SMS services (23%) or other mechanisms (1%). Approximately half of the messages sent asked participants to respond, to which 76% of participants responded at least one time. Response rates varied by text type: quizzes (22%), myth/fact (20%), questions (23%), program meeting reminders (19%), polls (15%), follow-up questions (6%)). Interim findings suggest a text message enhancement of a teen pregnancy prevention program offers the ability to facilitate greater engagement among high-risk youth. Standard face-to-face teen pregnancy prevention programs have limited reach. This low-cost opportunity to intensify effects for participants who face challenges in attendance and continuity is promising.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe how we utilized text messaging to enhance a program with demonstrated efficacy for prevention of teen pregnancy Discuss implications for enhancing youth development and risk behavior prevention programs

Keyword(s): Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have served as the manager for this project including the development and implementation of the text message enhancement.
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.