A Group Randomized Trial Evaluating High School FLASH, a Comprehensive Sexual Health Curriculum

Karin Coyle, Pamela Anderson, B. A. Laris, Mia Barrett, Tracy Unti, Elizabeth Baumler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate the effectiveness of a school-based comprehensive sexual health curriculum (FLASH) on high-school students’ sexual behavior and related outcomes. Methods: A cohort of 1,597 9th and 10th grade students representing 20 schools from two regions in the U.S. (Midwest and South) were enrolled and completed the baseline survey. Following baseline, the 20 schools were randomly assigned to receive FLASH (n = 10 schools, five per region) or a knowledge-based sexual health curriculum (n = 10 schools, five per region). Follow-up surveys were administered at 3 months and 12 months after the instruction period. Results: There were no statistically significant differences between conditions for the overall sample on rates of vaginal sex in the past 3 months or the rates of vaginal sex without a condom or other birth control. In supplementary subgroup analyses of students who were not sexually experienced at baseline, FLASH showed a statistically significant protective impact at the 3-month follow-up on vaginal sex without a condom or birth control (p =.04). FLASH also showed statistically significant gains in psychosocial outcomes, such as refusal and condom use self-efficacy, attitudes toward birth control and condoms, and perceived norms. Conclusions: FLASH demonstrated consistent short-term and long-term impacts on key behavioral determinants. It also showed a significant impact on vaginal sex without a condom or other birth control for the subgroup of students who were not sexually experienced at baseline. Behavioral impacts were not evident for the entire study population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-695
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume68
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Effectiveness
  • Replication
  • Sexual health
  • Teen pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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