CONTEXT: Latino and black adolescents are disproportionately affected by STDs, including HIV, and unintended pregnancies. Few parent-based interventions have targeted these youth, focused on early adolescence and had high participation rates.
METHODS: Between 2003 and 2009, a randomized clinical trial was conducted with 2,016 Latino and black mother-adolescent dyads in New York City. Adolescents were eligible if they were in grade 6 or 7. Dyads were assigned to one of three conditions: a parent-based intervention, Families Talking Together (FTT); an adolescent-only intervention, Making a Difference! (MAD); or a combined FTT+MAD intervention. Respondents completed questionnaires at baseline and 12 months later. Single-degree-of-freedom contrasts and logistic regression analysis were used to evaluate differences in outcomes by intervention.
RESULTS: The proportion of youth who reported ever having engaged in vaginal intercourse increased over the study period by eight percentage points among those in the MAD group, five points in the FTT group and three points in the combined group; the differences among these increases were not statistically significant. Adolescents in the two FTT groups were significantly more likely than those in the MAD group to indicate that their mother had talked to them about not having intercourse (79% vs. 68%). They also scored higher than youth in the MAD group on measures of communication and perceived maternal attributes, and lower on activities that might lead to risky behaviors.
CONCLUSIONS: The proportions of adolescents who initiated intercourse during the study period were not significantly different across groups, implying that the interventions were comparable. Findings suggest that FTT may have led to improved parenting behaviors.