Culturally Responsive Adolescent Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention Program for Middle School Students in Hawai‘i

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Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate the effectiveness of Pono Choices, a culturally responsive adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention program targeting middle school youths in Hawai‘i.

Methods

We conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial with the school as the unit of random assignment over 3 semesters between 2012 and 2013. The sample consisted of 36 middle schools and 2203 students. We administered student surveys to collect baseline outcomes, student demographic data, and outcomes at 12 months after baseline.

Results

We found statistically significant effects for the knowledge assessment, which focused on basic understanding of adolescent pregnancy and STI prevention. The average percentage of correct responses was 73.6 for the treatment group and 60.4 for the control group (P < .001). We did not find statistically significant effects on behavioral outcomes (initiation of sexual activity or engagement in high-risk sexual behavior) or on other nonbehavioral outcomes (attitudes, skills, intentions).

Conclusions

Pono Choices had a statistically significant impact on knowledge of adolescent pregnancy and STI prevention among middle school students at 12 months after baseline, though it did not lead to detectable changes in behavioral outcomes within the 1-year observation period. These results call for an exploration of longer-term outcomes to assess effects on knowledge retention and behavioral changes.

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