Efficacy of abstinence promotion media messages: Findings from an online randomized trial
We conducted an online randomized experiment to evaluate the efficacy of messages from the Parents Speak Up National Campaign (PSUNC) to promote parent–child communication about sex.
We randomly assigned a national sample of 1969 mothers and fathers to treatment (PSUNC exposure) and control (no exposure) conditions. Mothers were further randomized into treatment and booster (additional messages) conditions to evaluate dose–response effects. Participants were surveyed at baseline, 4 weeks postexposure, and 6 months postexposure. We used multivariable logistic regression procedures in our analysis.
Treatment fathers were more likely than control fathers to initiate conversations about sex at 4 weeks, and treatment fathers and mothers were more likely than controls at 6 months to recommend that their children wait to have sex. Treatment fathers and mothers were far more likely than controls to use the campaign Web site. There was a dose–response effect for mothers' Web site use.
Using new media methods, this study shows that PSUNC messages are efficacious in promoting parent–child communication about sex and abstinence. Future research should evaluate mechanisms and effectiveness in natural settings.