Personal Narrative as a Medium for STD/HIV Intervention: A Preliminary Study1


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    The authors thank Dick Dienstbier for his comments during preparation of this manuscript, as well as Rick Schmidt and John Scheer for allowing data collection during their classes. We also thank the REACH OUT and PERSUNL peer programs for their assistance in delivering these interventions. The first author thanks Pat Tetreault for her mentorship over the years, as well as for her comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. Susan Kiene and William Barta are now at the Department of Psychology at the University of Connecticut. This paper is a product from the first author's honors thesis at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Susan M. Kiene, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, 406 Babbidge Road, Unit 1020, Storrs, CT 06269. E-mail:


Few brief interventions have been successful at producing changes in STD and HIV risk behavior. This preliminary study evaluated the effectiveness of 2 brief interventions designed to promote safer sex. Participants were 93 students enrolled in a health education course at a large midwestern university who watched a 40-min slide presentation including behavioral-skills training, a 40-min personal narrative performance followed by behavioral-skills training, or no presentation. Two weeks later, students completed measures of safer-sex attitudes, motivation, behavioral intentions, behavioral skills, self-efficacy, and decisional balance. Students in the personal narrative group scored higher on the behavioral-skills measure than did students in the slide group or the control group. Personal narrative may be an effective medium for brief safer-sex interventions.