P97 Assessing Reproductive Health Information Among Adolescents in a Mid-Western City

Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Pre-Function Lobby & Grand Ballroom D2/E (M4) (Omni Hotel)
Bipasha Biswas, MSW, PhD, Rebecca Define, MSW, (expected, Dec, 2009), Samia van Hattum, BSSW, (anticipated, 2009) and Proscovia Nabunya, MSW, (expected, Dec, 2010), Social Work, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO

Background: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) remain a public health challenge in the United States, with 50% of new infections occurring among young adolescents (Weinstock, 2004).

Objectives: This study reports the results of a sexuality and reproductive health intervention targeted to reduce pregnancies and STIs among adolescents, and increase communication of medically accurate sexuality information.

Methods: A peer delivered comprehensive reproductive health education curriculum was conducted over 36- contact-hours. Participants were recruited from community schools and received parental permission prior to enrollment. Participants (n=248) completed a 21-item Reproductive Health Information (RHI) Scale (Cronbach's α = 74.7) assessing knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes before and after the curriculum was administered.

Results: The average pre and post intervention score on the RHI scale was 13.1 (SD=3.63) and 17.1 (SD=2.81) respectively [t=-18.19, p<0.0001]. Multivariate analysis revealed a significant model, F (156)=8.5, p<.0001 accounting for 24.7% of the variance in the Pre-test RHI scale. Significant predictors at pre-test include communicating with teachers/ adults about general problems (b=1.99, t=3.73, p<.0001), communicating with a date (b=1.65, t=2.6, p<.05) and being African American female (b=-1.7, t=-2.6, p<.05). About 12.5% of the variance in RHI score was explained at post-test, F (168)=6.00, p<.0001), where talking with friends about sex (b=1.4, t=2.5, p<.05) was a significant predictor.

Conclusions: The intervention was effective in increasing knowledge about reproductive health information. For adolescents, communication with friends and peers was identified as a significant source of obtaining sexuality and reproductive health related information.

Implications for Programs, Policy, and/or Research:Program implications include increasing medically accurate knowledge and communication about STI's among teens across the U.S. Comprehensive reproductive health education programs are imperative in protecting the well-being of adolescents within the U.S. Longitudinal research is needed to assess the retention of knowledge and behavior change over time.

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