The objectives of this study were to examine (1) whether the onset of sexually transmitted infections (STI) through age 30 differed for youths who received a social developmental intervention during elementary grades compared to those in the control condition; (2) potential social-developmental mediators of this intervention; and (3) the extent to which these results differed by ethnicity. A nonrandomized controlled trial followed participants to age 30, 18 years after the intervention ended. Three intervention conditions were compared: a full-intervention group, assigned to intervention in grades 1 through 6; a late intervention group, assigned to intervention in grades 5 and 6 only; and a no-treatment control group. Eighteen public elementary schools serving diverse neighborhoods including high-crime neighborhoods of Seattle are the setting of the study. Six hundred eight participants in three intervention conditions were interviewed from age 10 through 30. Interventions include teacher training in classroom instruction and management, child social and emotional skill development, and parent workshops. Outcome is the cumulative onset of participant report of STI diagnosis. Adolescent family environment, bonding to school, antisocial peer affiliation, early sex initiation, alcohol use, cigarette use, and marijuana use were tested as potential intervention mechanisms. Complementary log–log survival analysis found significantly lower odds of STI onset for the full-intervention compared to the control condition. The lowering of STI onset risk was significantly greater for African Americans and Asian Americans compared to European Americans. Family environment, school bonding, and delayed initiation of sexual behavior mediated the relationship between treatment and STI hazard. A universal intervention for urban elementary school children, focused on classroom management and instruction, children’s social competence, and parenting practices may reduce the onset of STI through age 30, especially for African Americans.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 29, 2013
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