Using media literacy education for adolescent sexual health promotion in middle school: Randomized control trial of Media Aware
Scull, T. M., Kupersmidt, J. B., Malik, C. V., & Morgan-Lopez, A. A. (2018). Using media literacy education for adolescent sexual health promotion in middle school: Randomized control trial of Media Aware. Journal of Health Communication, 23(12), 1051-1063. doi:10.1080/10810730.2018.1548669
Objectives: Examine the short-term efficacy of Media Aware, a middle school classroom-based media literacy education (MLE) program for improving adolescents’ sexual health outcomes.
Methods: In a randomized control trial, schools were randomly assigned to the intervention (N = 5 schools) or health promotion control (N = 4 schools) group. Students completed questionnaires at pretest (N = 880 students) and immediate posttest (N = 926 students).
Results: The Media Aware program had a significant favorable impact on adolescent outcomes related to sexual health, including increased self-efficacy and intentions to use contraception, if they were to engage in sexual activity; enhanced positive attitudes, self-efficacy, and intentions to communicate about sexual health; decreased acceptance of dating violence and strict gender roles; and increased sexual health knowledge. Program effects were also found for media-related outcomes, including enhanced media deconstruction skills and increased media skepticism.
Conclusions: Media Aware resulted in several favorable adolescent sexual health- and media-related outcomes and demonstrates that MLE can be an effective approach to sexual health education.