Online Program

A randomized trial of a parent-mediated intervention to reduce sexual risks among African American teens in high poverty settings

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Lydia O'Donnell, EdD, Health and Human Development Division, Education Development Center, Inc., Waltham, MA
Daniel Finkelstein, PhD, Health and Human Development Division, Education Development Center, Inc., Waltham, MA
Athi Myint-U, EdM, Health and Human Development Programs, Education Development Center, Waltham, MA
Deborah McLean Leow, Health and Human Development Division, Education Development Center, Inc., Waltham, MA
Mary Kay Landon, PhD, Health and Human Division Department, Education Development Center, Waltham, MA
Susana Valverde, B.A., Health and Human Development Division, Education Development Center, Waltham, MA
Background: African American youth living in high poverty settings have higher rates of early sexual initiation and related behavioral risks associated with negative health and social outcomes into adulthood. Healthy Futures is a brief, low demand intervention for parents of young adolescents; it provides culturally tailored audio stories that model positive parenting practices to support healthy sexual choices.

Methods: In a randomized controlled trial of Healthy Futures, 1223 sixth grade youths and parents were recruited from schools in New York City and assigned to one of three conditions: (1) Healthy Futures audio stories for an 18 month period (intervention), (2), print materials on similar topics (attention control), or (3) a control condition. Youth were surveyed at baseline and three months post-intervention about sexual behaviors.

Results: At three months post-intervention, youth in the intervention condition had lower rates of lifetime sexual activity than control youth (AOR=0.70, p=0.04), and were less likely than control or attention control youth to report having sex or touching/being touched under their clothes during the past three months (I vs. C: AOR=0.75, p=0.02; I vs. AC: AOR=0.82, p=0.04). Intervention effects were stronger for males, with intervention males having lower rates of lifetime (AOR=0.54, p=0.001) and recent sexual activity (AOR=0.55, p=.001) than control males.

Discussion: Healthy Futures demonstrated positive impacts at delaying sexual involvement. Future analyses will examine the duration of this effect. Healthy Futures represents a brief intervention disseminated directly to parents' homes that has potential to influence large populations of parents and teens.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe an intervention for parents of early teens that uses culturally tailored audio role model stories to promote healthy parenting practices and reduce sexual risk taking among teens. Discuss short-term impacts of the Healthy Futures intervention on sexual involvement of early teens living in high poverty communities. Discuss strategies for providing parents with guidance to support youth in delaying sexual initiation and reducing sexual risk taking.

Keyword(s): Sexual Risk Behavior, Adolescent Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the field supervisor for the randomized trial discussed in this presentation. I have over 15 years experience in public health and the development and evaluation of behavioral interventions to reduce risk behaviors among youth and adults.
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.