Program

Jul 16, 2012

OVERVIEW

This
social-cognitive sexual risk intervention with an emotional education component
is designed for college students who have had sex. The aim of the intervention
is to increase condom use. The intervention is based on the premise that three
core components underlie sexual risk-taking (or the avoidance of sexual
risk-taking), namely information, motivation, and behavioral skills. However,
this intervention differs from traditional IMB interventions in that it also
includes an added emotional component. The young adults in the treatment group
received a single, two-hour, facilitator-led social-cognitive intervention that
included a video that focused on ways to anticipate and respond to positive and
negative emotions related to condom use; a PowerPoint that targeted information related to sexual risk; a video that focused on motivation
to avoid risky behaviors; and a video and PowerPoint that focused on behavioral skills related to condom use negotiation. A second treatment
group received only the latter three intervention components. Those in the
control group received only the standard material presented by their
university. This evaluation revealed that the social-cognitive sexual
intervention with the emotional component had improvements in condom use
compared with the control group three months following the intervention; the
evaluation also revealed that this intervention group had improvements in condom
use compared with both the control group and the other treatment group at
the six-month follow-up.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target
population:

College
students who have had sex.

The
social-cognitive sexual risk reduction intervention with an emotional component
is based on an existing information-motivation-behavior (IMB) intervention.
According to IMB models, sexual risk prevention information, motivation, and
behavioral skills are the underlying components of sexual risk prevention. This
intervention adopted these same three core components, but also added an
additional component of an emotion module. The intended goal of this
intervention is to increase condom use.

This
single 120-minute social-cognitive intervention with an emotional content is led
by a facilitator. The intervention consists of three modules related to
information, motivation, and behavioral skills, as well as a fourth module
related to education.The latter module makes this intervention distinct
from other social-cognitive interventions and from the IMB intervention on which
this program (and the other three modules) is based. The emotion module uses a
video to help participants identify, prepare for, and respond to emotions that
are related to healthy behaviors and decisions. The video features “cool”
college students discussing sexual situations with friends and partners, and it
is designed to evoke the following emotions: love and caring (and how these
emotions relate to using a condom or having a partner use a condom); confidence
and security (and the ability to associate these feelings with condom use);
embarrassment and guilt (and the ability to avoid associating these feelings
with condom use); and eroticism (and ways that condom use can promote erotic
feelings and behaviors). Facilitator-led discussion follows the video.

In
addition to the emotion component, the information module involves a PowerPoint
in which facts related to sexual risk are presented and risky sexual
decision-making rules are identified and corrected. The motivation module of
this intervention includes a video that encourages risk prevention behaviors and
that targets risky sexual attitudes, norms, and motivators (including
perceptions of sexual risks and vulnerabilities). The behavioral skills module
of this intervention also includes a video; this video targets condom use
negotiation skills and reviews correct condom use skills. In addition to the
video, the third module includes a PowerPoint that reviews condom negotiation
skills with various kinds of sexual partners. After each module a facilitator
leads group discussions meant to reinforce the content of that module.

EVALUATION
OF PROGRAM

Ferrer,
R. A., Fisher, J., D., Buck, R., & Amico, K.R. (2011). Pilot test of an
emotional education intervention component for sexual risk reduction. Health
Psychology, 30
(5), 656-660.

Evaluated population:
College
students were recruited, and those who reported having had sex were asked to
participate in the evaluation. The majority of the sample was white (81
percent), and 10 percent of the sample was black. The sample was approximately
equal in gender, with females comprising 52 percent of the participants.

Approach:
The 179
participants were grouped into mixed-gender groups of 10-15 students. Using a
randomization program, the groups were then randomly assigned to one of three
conditions: the social-cognitive treatment group (SC group) [more information on
this intervention can be found

here]; the social-cognitive, plus emotional component treatment group (SCE
group); and the control group. One-third of participants (n=67) were assigned to
the social-cognitive intervention, one-third (n=68) were assigned to an
alternative treatment group (who received the social-cognitive intervention,
modified to include an emotional component), and the remaining one-third (n=64)
were assigned to the control group. The control group received treatment as
usual, meaning that they only received standard material provided by the
university.

Treatment
and control group measures were obtained at three points: baseline, an online
follow-up three months following the baseline, and a second online follow-up
three months later (six months after the baseline). The outcome measure of
interest was participants’ self-reports of the percentage of time that they had
used a condom during vaginal or anal sex in the past month. It should be noted
that randomization occurred at the group level, but analyses occurred at the
individual level.

Results: At baseline, there were no significant differences in mean condom use (33
percent) between the SCE group and the control group. At the three-month
follow-up, mean condom use was 65 percent in the SCE group and 35 percent in the
control group. At the six-month follow-up, mean condom use was 67 percent in
the SCE group and 35 percent in the control group. At both the three-month and
six-month follow-ups, the SCE group reported significantly higher condom use
than the control group. Effect sizes (Cohen’s d‘s) revealed a small
effect when comparing the SCE treatment group with the control group at the
three-month follow-up and a medium effect when comparing the SCE group to the
control group at the six-month follow-up.

In
summary, the SCE intervention group had higher levels of condom use in the past
month than those in the treatment-as-usual group (the control group). This
impact was seen three and six months after the SCE group completed the single
120-minute SCE intervention.

SOURCES
FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Ferrer, R.
A., Fisher, J., D., Buck, R., & Amico, K.R. (2011). Pilot test of an emotional
education intervention component for sexual risk reduction. Health
Psychology, 30
(5), 656-660.

KEYWORDS

College;
Young Adults; Males and Females (Co-ed); School-Based; Skills Training; Condom
Use and Contraception

Program
information last updated 7/16/12