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Prevention of Alcohol Use in Older Teens

Prevention of Alcohol Use in Older Teens

The growing incidence of alcohol use among teens is an important public health problem. In a recent publication in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Klein Buendel Senior Scientists, Dr. David Buller and Dr. Gill Woodall, joined multiple co-authors to report on the effects of a new alcohol use prevention program for older teenagers. The program is called Smart Choices 4 Teens. The paper reports the results from a randomized controlled trial assessing the impact of this online, interactive, family-based alcohol prevention program with over 400 families on preventing and reducing teen alcohol use.

Smart Choices 4 Teens was designed with three sequential components: general parent-teen communication, teen alcohol use, and teen romantic relationships. The creators adapted two evidence-based programs — Family Matter (1) and Parent Handbook (2) — to appeal to older teens and their parents. Communication skills training was incorporated through videos and interactive activities. The program was designed to have parents and teens go through the online activities separately and then complete a discussion activity together at the end of each component. The Alcohol Component is the focus of this publication.

Use of the program varied across families and components. Families that used more of the program reported better outcomes. Data related to dosage of the program and changes in drinking rates are reported in detail in the paper. Many positive effects were seen at 6-month and 12-month follow-ups with participating families. For example, teens in the experimental group reported fewer friends who had been drunk at six months, and parents in the experimental group reported more communication about social host laws. At 12 months, parents in the experimental group reported consuming fewer alcoholic beverages.

Overall, the findings suggest that Smart Choices 4 Teens was beneficial for families, especially when parents and teens completed more of the program. The authors believe that dissemination and implementation strategies that motivate completion of Smart Choice 4 Teens content, especially the Alcohol Component, can improve outcomes related to older teens’ alcohol use.

A full description of the methods, results, and conclusions of this study can be found in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. This research was funded by a grant to the Prevention Research Center at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (AA020977; Brenda Miller, Principal Investigator). Authors in addition to Dr. Miller, Dr. Buller, and Dr. Woodall include first author Dr. Hilary Byrnes, Dr. Joel Grube, Dr. Beth Bourdeau, and Dr. Meme Wang-Schweig from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. The Smart Choices 4 Teens program was produced by Klein Buendel’s Creative Team.

References

  1. Bauman, K. E., Foshee, V. A., Ennett, S. T., Hicks, K., & Pemberton, M. (2001). Family Matters: A family-directed program designed to prevent adolescent tobacco and alcohol use. Health Promotion Practice, 2, 81-96. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/152483990100200112
  2. Turrisi, R., Jaccard, J., Taki, R., Dunnam, H., & Grimes, J. (2001). Examination of the short-term efficacy of a parent intervention to reduce college student drinking tendencies. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 15, 366–372. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0893-164X.15.4.366
Vacteens: A Mobile Web App to Improve HPV Vaccine Uptake

Vacteens: A Mobile Web App to Improve HPV Vaccine Uptake

Dr. W. Gill Woodall from Klein Buendel (KB) and the University of New Mexico and Jeanny Reither from KB presented findings from the Vacteens Project at the Eurogin International Multidisciplinary HPV Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, December 2-5, 2018. Eurogin is one of the most important conferences on Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection and related cancers. It aims to raise the public health profile of HPV, increase the need for responsible health services, and examine the cost-effectiveness of risk-based screening to pave the way for the development of new strategies for the prevention of HPV-induced cancers.

The uptake of the HPV vaccine in the United States remains significantly below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80% series completion, and this is particularly so for the young adolescent age range, when the immunogenic response to the vaccine is stronger. While a number of factors may account for this less than desirable vaccine uptake, parental concerns and misinformation about the efficacy and safety of HPV vaccine remain barriers to reaching public health vaccination goals. Physician and clinic-based interventions have shown some limited positive effect on vaccine uptake. However, parental barriers to HPV vaccination may ideally be addressed by digital interventions (in this case, smartphone applications) that are tailored to their concerns. Specifically, research indicates there is a great deal of: (1) confusion and uncertainty about HPV vaccine, and (2) concomitant misinformation about HPV vaccine, who it is meant for, and the conditions under which it is maximally effective.

With funding from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Woodall’s team systematically developed a set of mobile web app tools to prompt the informed adoption of HPV vaccination. They used Diffusion of Innovations Theory and related research on Informed Decision Making to guide the iterative development of mobile apps for parents of young female and male adolescents.

Ms. Reither presented a poster that reported the results of developmental research and early trial findings from two smartphone web app projects — one focused on parents and adolescent girls (ages 11-14) and the other on parents and adolescent boys in the same age range. The objective of these investigations is to develop and evaluate a mobile web app to encourage HPV vaccination in New Mexico, an ethnically-diverse state. Current ongoing randomized controlled efficacy trials with parents and their adolescent children in New Mexico clinics provide data to determine the impact of these mobile web apps on informed decision making and uptake for the HPV vaccine.

Dr. Woodall participated in a panel session entitled “Uses of New Technologies in HPV Vaccine Behavioral Science Research.” He gave a presentation on the design, development, and testing of the innovative Vacteens web app. New technologies and social networking sites like this can be used to understand sources of information and misinformation about HPV vaccination, engage parents and youth, and encourage HPV vaccination.

The progress and initial results of these ongoing research efforts will have implications for reaching HPV vaccine uptake goals set by Healthy People 2020 in the United States. Mobile web-based interventions show promise for reaching HPV vaccine uptake goals. A mobile web app can make decision-making tools widely available on popular mobile platforms such as tablet computers and smartphones, as well as personal computers.

This research was funded by grants from PCORI and the National Cancer Institute (CA210125; Dr. W. Gill Woodall, Principal Investigator). Collaborators included Dr. Alberta Kong, Dr. Randall Starling, Dr. Lance Chilton, and Dr. Tamar Ginossar from the University of New Mexico; Dr. Greg Zimet from Indiana University; and Dr. David Buller and Jeanny Reither from KB. 


Dr. W. Gill Woodall and Jeanny Reither from Klein Buendel
INSIGHTS ON HPV VACCINATION FROM MOTHERS’ COMMENTS ON FACEBOOK POSTS IN A RANDOMIZED TRIAL

INSIGHTS ON HPV VACCINATION FROM MOTHERS’ COMMENTS ON FACEBOOK POSTS IN A RANDOMIZED TRIAL

HPV vaccine uptake among adolescent girls in the United States remains below the national goal of 80%. Parent decisions to vaccinate daughters can be impeded by confusion, uncertainty, and misinformation about the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine. Dr. David Buller from Klein Buendel (KB) presented an analysis of mothers’ beliefs about vaccinating their adolescent daughters for HPV at the Eurogin International Multidisciplinary HPV Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, December 2-5, 2018.

Mothers with adolescent daughters from 34 states (n=880) were recruited to participate in a randomized controlled trial evaluating a social media campaign on adolescent health. The mothers’ beliefs were expressed in comments to posts on HPV vaccination in a social media campaign on adolescent health. Participants were recruited through Qualtrics survey panels or local efforts at the Tennessee study site. Eligibility criteria were: having a daughter aged 14-17, living in one of 34 states without a complete ban on indoor tanning for minors, using a Facebook account 1+ times a week, being able to read English, consenting to participate, completing the baseline survey, and willing to join the Facebook group. The campaign, implemented through Facebook private groups, included posts on HPV vaccination, as one of seven general health topics. The experimental manipulation varied posts on indoor tanning versus prescription drug abuse prevention. Posts on HPV vaccination and reactions and comments from mothers were extracted.

Mothers had a mean age of 43.1 years; 6.5% were Hispanic and 86.6% white; and 63.1% reported that their daughter had been vaccinated for HPV (17.8% receiving two shots and 31.5% three shots). HPV vaccination posts received on average 1.3 reactions and 3.3 comments from mothers. Comments often formed a dialogue among mothers. More than half of the comments (52.8%) were favorable, indicating that the daughter had been vaccinated and HPV vaccination reduced mothers’ anxiety, HPV infection rates, and related disease risk. However, 45.3% were unfavorable, citing safety concerns, lack of efficacy, unknown long-term consequences, inappropriate age for the vaccine, apprehension by other mothers, fears of vaccine tampering, lack of physician support, and sexual activity issues (for example, plans to wait until daughter becomes sexually active or using vaccine to guard against unprotected sex). Some commented, mostly favorably, on the need to vaccinate boys.

Facebook comments indicated both support for and resistance to HPV vaccination by mothers in the United States. Reasons for not vaccinating girls were similar to barriers expressed in other research and reflected negative media coverage of HPV vaccination. Effective strategies are needed in social media to counter misinformation on and resistance to HPV vaccines.

This research was funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (CA192652; Dr. David Buller, Principal Investigator). Collaborators include Dr.Barbara Walkosz and Julia Berteletti from KB; Dr. Sherry Pagoto and Jessica Oleski from the University of Connecticut, and Dr. Katie Baker from East Tennessee State University.

Eurogin is one of the most important conferences in the world on HPV infection and related cancers. The international gathering examines public health, health services, screening, and prevention of HPV-induced cancers.