Program

Mar 14, 2012

OVERVIEW

The ARREST Program was developed to reduce the risk of AIDS among inner-city adolescents.  In a random assignment study, adolescents taking part in the ARREST intervention were compared with others placed in a wait-list control group.  Following the intervention, treatment adolescents had significantly greater AIDS-related knowledge, perceived greater risk of becoming HIV-infected, and superior communication and assertiveness skills, compared with control adolescents.  In spite of ARREST’s positive impact on these outcomes, treatment adolescents did not report changes in their sexual behaviors.  At follow-up, no significant differences were found between treatment adolescents and control adolescents on their frequency of sex, number of sexual partners, or use of condoms.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: inner-city, minority adolescents

The three-session curriculum is based on the health beliefs model and social learning theory, and has five primary objectives:

  • To provide students with information about HIV transmission and prevention
  • To provide students with instruction on how to purchase condoms, and demonstrations on how to properly use condoms together with spermicide
  • To provide students with instruction on how to evaluate their level of risk for HIV and identify situations that are associated with risk behaviors
  • To improve students’ decision-making, communication, and assertiveness skills around sexual behavior, and especially risky behavior
  • To help students establish peer groups that will support and encourage HIV prevention and risk reduction

Each ARREST session includes 30 minutes of review and question-and-answer, and 60 minutes of new information.  New information is presented via direct instruction, modeling, skills-building exercises, role play, and group discussion.  At the end of each session, a take-home exercise is provided so that students can practice skills targeted during that session. Sessions are led by AIDS educators.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Kipke, M. D., Boyer, C., & Hein, K.  (1993).  An evaluation of an AIDS risk reduction education and skills training (ARREST) program.  Journal of Adolescent Health, 14, 533-539.

Evaluated population: A total of 87 adolescents from New York City served as the study sample for this investigation.  The sample was composed of Latino (59%) and African American adolescents (41%). Participating adolescents were between the ages of 12 and 16, with an average of 14 years of age.

Approach: Adolescents were recruited from three community-based agencies that provided alternative educational instruction and an after-school program to high-risk youth in New York City.  In order to participate, adolescents had to be between 12 and 16 years old, speak English, and obtain written consent from their parents. Adolescents were randomly assigned to either the treatment group (41 adolescents) or the control group (46 adolescents).  Treatment subjects were divided into small groups of 10-12 adolescents and were given the opportunity to take part in three 90-minute ARREST sessions with their group, as well as one pre- and one post-assessment session.  ARREST sessions were led by two AIDS educators.  Control subjects were put on a wait list and were given the opportunity to take part in the ARREST intervention once the study was complete.

All participants were surveyed at baseline and again four weeks following completion of the ARREST intervention.  At both pre-test and post-test, adolescents were videotaped as they responded to three high-risk role-play scenarios.  Participants’ tapes were coded for demonstrated communication and assertiveness skills. Adolescents also completed a group of questionnaires with items relevant to five scales: knowledge about HIV transmission and prevention, negative attitudes and beliefs about the cause of AIDS, perception of risk, self-efficacy (their belief that they can protect themselves from HIV/AIDS), and involvement in HIV-risk-related sexual and drug-use behaviors. At baseline, there were no significant differences between the treatment group and the control group in any of the measures.

Results: Following the intervention, adolescents assigned to the treatment group had significantly increased their AIDS-related knowledge.  Treatment adolescents had also increased their perception of the risk adolescents have for becoming HIV-infected and decreased their uninformed attitudes about AIDS.  Treatment participants had not significantly increased their sexual self-efficacy, however.  Analysis of role-play responses revealed that, compared with control subjects, treatment subjects had significantly better assertiveness and communication skills in high-risk scenarios.

In spite of ARREST’s positive impact on knowledge, attitudes, and assertiveness and communication skills, treatment subjects did not report changes in their sexual behaviors.  At follow-up, no significant differences were found between treatment subjects and control subjects on frequency of sex, number of sexual partners, or use of condoms.

Note: One adolescent was included in preliminary analyses, but dropped from primary analyses.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Curriculum materials are unavailable for purchase.

References

Kipke, M. D., Boyer, C., & Hein, K.  (1993).  An evaluation of an AIDS risk reduction education and skills training (ARREST) program.  Journal of Adolescent Health, 14, 533-539.

KEYWORDS: Urban, STD/HIV/AIDS, Adolescents, Sexual Activity, Condom Use and Contraception, Life Skills, Community-Based, High-Risk, Youth, Males and Females.

Program information last updated on 3/14/12.

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