Efficacy of it's your game-tech: A computer-based sexual health education program for middle school youth

Melissa F. Peskin, Ross Shegog, Christine M. Markham, Melanie Thiel, Elizabeth R. Baumler, Robert C. Addy, Efrat K. Gabay, Susan Tortolero Emery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose Few computer-based HIV, sexually transmitted infection (STI), and pregnancy prevention programs are available, and even fewer target early adolescents. In this study, we tested the efficacy of It's Your Game (IYG)-Tech, a completely computer-based, middle school sexual health education program. The primary hypothesis was that students who received IYG-Tech would significantly delay sexual initiation by ninth grade. Methods We evaluated IYG-Tech using a randomized, two-arm nested design among 19 schools in a large, urban school district in southeast Texas (20 schools were originally randomized). The target population was English-speaking eighth-grade students who were followed into the ninth grade. The final analytic sample included 1,374 students. Multilevel logistic regression models were used to test for differences in sexual initiation between intervention and control students, while adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, time between measures, and family structure. Results There was no significant difference in the delay of sexual activity or in any other sexual behavior between intervention and control students. However, there were significant positive between-group differences for psychosocial variables related to STI and condom knowledge, attitudes about abstinence, condom use self-efficacy, and perceived norms about sex. Post hoc analyses conducted among intervention students revealed some significant associations: "full exposure" (completion of all 13 lessons) and "mid-exposure" (5-8 lessons) students were less likely than "low exposure" (1-4 lessons) students to initiate sex. Conclusions Collectively, our findings indicate that IYG-Tech impacts some determinants of sexual behavior, and that additional efficacy evaluation with full intervention exposure may be warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-521
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume56
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • HIV
  • Prevention
  • Sexual health
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Technology
  • 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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