The Development and Evaluation of a Web-Based Intervention to Increase Safer Sexual Behavior Among Undergraduate Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Theoretically-Driven Intervention
AuthorShearer, Erika Megumi
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Despite the high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STI) among undergraduate students, a paucity of empirically supported programs aimed at reducing STI transmission exist. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a theory-driven, web-based, safer sex intervention tailored specifically for undergraduate students. A sample of 100 sexually active undergraduate students completed baseline questionnaires assessing sociodemographics, sexual risk taking, history of potentially traumatizing events, endorsement of health behavior theory constructs (e.g. health behavior constructs pertaining to the theory of reasoned action and transtheoretical model), and endorsement of specific barriers to condom use. Results from the 30 undergraduate students who completed questionnaires at 1-month follow up revealed a significant effect of the intervention condition on condom use behaviors, with individuals in the web-based safer sex intervention condition reporting more consistent condom use than individuals in the waitlist control condition. There was no effect of the intervention on ratings of health behavior theory constructs. Results of a hierarchical regression analysis revealed that 31% of the variability in condom use was predicted by the combination of relationship status, condom use intent and behavioral processes of change. Over half of intervention participants reported that the information presented in the intervention was relevant, they "learned a great deal," the experience was fun, and they would recommend the workshop to a friend. This study provides preliminary evidence in support of the effectiveness and feasibility of a web-based intervention aimed at increasing safer sexual behaviors among undergraduate students.