Program

Apr 13, 2007

OVERVIEW

Saving Sex for Later is a parent-focused intervention which aims to delay sexual initiation among young adolescents who are at risk for early sexual initiation.  The program is designed to be brief and convenient for parents and is focused on increasing parent-child communication about development and sex.  A randomized, experimental evaluation of the Saving Sex for Later program in New York City found that it was effective in increasing parent-child communication, parent self-efficacy, and the influence that parents had on their children.  Students in the program felt more family support, had more family rules at home, and had lower levels of behavioral risk factors.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Urban 5th and 6th graders who are at risk for early sexual initiation

The Saving Sex for Later is a 3-part CD curriculum which is sent to parents every 2 months for a total of 6 months.  The CD’s are designed to be brief (about 25 minutes) and have steps which are easy to implement in the home.  The curriculum attempts to increase parent-child communication about sexual behavior by providing examples of how to initiate conversations about sex.  It also tries to increase parent self-efficacy in taking action about the sexual activity of their children through monitoring, rules, and supervision.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

O’Donnell, L., Ann Stueve, G., Agronick, R., Wilson-Simmons, R. D., Jeanbaptiste, V. (2005).  Saving sex for later: An evaluation of a parent education intervention.  Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 37(4), 166-173.

Evaluated population: 846 5th and 6th grade students from New York City public schools where 90% of all students were eligible for free lunch programs.  Only one student per family was selected for the study, and one parent was also assigned with the student.  52% of the students were female and 92% of the students’ parents enrolled in the program were female.  64% of the students were black, 29% were Hispanic, and 8% were of another ethnicity.  Students ranged in age from 10 years to 13 years with the majority being either 10 or 11.

Approach: Schools qualified for the study if they were located in neighborhoods with mostly black or Hispanic residents and where at least 90% of students were eligible for free lunch programs.  Only one parent and one child were allowed per family, and they did not have to fulfill any requirements except to consent to the project and to complete a baseline measure.  Incentive payments were provided for returning a consent form, whether or not consent was given, and for participation.  After completing the baseline survey, the student-parent pairs were randomly assigned to the Saving Sex for Later intervention group or a control group.  In the intervention condition, a Saving Sex for Later curriculum CD was mailed out to parents about every 10 weeks.  There were a total of three CDs, and the intervention lasted approximately 6 months.  Control families were not offered any intervention but were offered the CD series after the end of the study.  Three months after the final CD was mailed out, both parents and students were assessed on different measures.

Parents were assessed using a telephone survey.  This survey gathered information about basic demographic characteristics, parent-child communication, self-efficacy, oversight of their children, and perceived parental influence over their children’s behaviors.  The students were assessed using paper and pencil surveys which gathered information about demographics, family support, family monitoring, family rules, and, at baseline, a behavioral risk measure.

Results: An Intent-To-Treat (ITT) model was used for analyses of the data collected.  At follow-up, parents in the treatment condition were less likely to report problems with low levels of communication, self-efficacy, and parental influence compared with parents in the control group.  Likewise, students in the intervention program were less likely to report problems with low family support.  Also, students in the intervention program reported higher levels of family rules and lower levels on the behavioral risks measures compared with the control group students.  In additional analyses, parents in the intervention group were more likely to score high on parental influence, communication, self-efficacy, and monitoring; although the finding on parental monitoring was only marginally significant.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

O’Donnell, L., Ann Stueve, G., Agronick, R., Wilson-Simmons, R. D., Jeanbaptiste, V. (2005).  Saving sex for later: An evaluation of a parent education intervention.  Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 37(4), 166-173.

Website: http://hhd.org/what-we-do/curricula-and-training-materials

KEYWORDS: Middle Childhood (6-11), Adolescence (12-17), Children, High-Risk, Parents, Elementary School, Home-Based, Education, Urban, Reproductive Health, Sexual Initiation, Social and Emotional Health and Development, Life Skills, Behavioral Problems, Parent or Family Component, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino

Program information last updated 4/13/07.

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