Girl Talk: A Smartphone Application to Teach Sexual Health Education to Adolescent Girls [16B]

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Our primary objective was to design a free, interactive smartphone application with a comprehensive sexual health education curriculum for adolescent girls to enhance their sexual health knowledge. Our secondary goal was to demonstrate that a sexual health smartphone application is a feasible and desirable method for sexual health education in adolescent girls ages 12–17.

METHODS:

This was a prospective, two-phase pilot study of 40 adolescent girls ages 12–17 living in Rhode Island. 22 participants were placed in age-segregated focus groups during Phase I to develop & validate a sexual health survey that would be used in Phase II. In Phase II, 18 girls with iPhone™ smartphones participated in feedback-based interviews and answered in-application survey questions both before and after utilizing the app for a two-week period.

RESULTS:

The research team developed the app to address knowledge deficits in sexual and reproductive health. During follow-up, 80% of participants stated that the application was feasible as a sexual health education tool, and 93% of participants would recommend the application to their peers. 93% of participants stated that most or all of their peers owned smartphones. Comparing participants' pre and post survey responses showed variability in the areas of knowledge improvement, with increases in mean response accuracy most prevalent for questions related to anatomy/physiology (4.8%), pregnancy prevention (3.8%) and prevention of sexually transmitted infections (2.2%).

CONCLUSION:

A smartphone application containing sexual health information is a feasible health education tool for female adolescents and can produce short-term improvements in sexual health knowledge.

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