Online Program

Are texting and social networking site's instant messaging appropriate sexual health education tools for urban young women of color? a mixed-methods study

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.

Sonia K González, MPH, DrPH Candidate, CUNY School of Public Health and Interactive Technology Pedagogy, CUNY School of Public Health, New York, NY
Background: Research shows that youth are tethered to their mobile devices to remain connected to social networks. As such, assumptions are being made by providers and researchers that texting via mobile phones and social networking sites (SNS) are a viable way to reach vulnerable young people of color. This study sought to understand how information about sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is obtained and shared (e.g., texting, SNS, in person) among young women of color who are participants of a peer education program and their networks.

Methods: Four focus groups (n=29) were conducted with Black and Latina women (ages 16-22) in Red Hook, Brooklyn and surveys were collected from 22 of the participants. Through an iterative process of reading transcripts and discussing differences thematic domains were developed. Due to a small sample size, quantitative analysis included descriptive statistics and comparison between the peer health educators and others using SAS 9.3.

Results: Focus group domains, triangulated with survey findings, explored how young women of color from an isolated neighborhood used texting, internet searches, and SNS instant messaging to seek and share SRH information. Findings from this study suggest that urban young women of color are wary of these modes of communication to obtain and share personal information about SRH.

Conclusions: Integrating texting via phones and SNS as a means to disseminate SRH information should be co-designed with communities of interest. This presentation will also discuss how these findings inform the development of future mobile research with young women of color.

Learning Areas:

Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Compare the similarities between geographically isolated rural populations and urban populations that are socially isolated. Describe how urban young women of color are wary of using mobile devices and new technology to obtain and share information about sexual health. Discuss how this finding informs future research using a smartphone app that is being designed with young women of color between 18 and 25 years old in an urban area.

Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in every stage of this project, from program design, developing and implementing the evaluation, designing the survey instrument, collecting the data, etc. I was also integrally involved in the data analysis. In addition, I have over 15 years of community experience in sexual health education programming.
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.