The effectiveness of the reach for health community youth service learning program in reducing early and unprotected sex among urban middle school students

Lydia O'Donnell, Ann Stueve, Alexi San Doval, Richard Duran, Deborah Haber, Rebecca Atnafou, Norma Johnson, Uda Grant, Helen Murray, Greg Juhn, Julia Tang, Patricia Piessens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a community youth service (CYS) program in reducing sexual risk behaviors among African American and Latino urban young adolescents. Methods. A total of 1061 students at 2 urban middle schools were surveyed at baseline and 6-month follow-up. Students at one school were randomly assigned by classroom to receive either the Reach for Health CYS program or the Reach for Health classroom curriculum only. Students at the other school served as controls. Results. At follow-up, CYS participants reported significantly less recent sexual activity (P < .05) and scored lower on a sexual activity index than those in the control condition (P < .03). The greatest effect was among eighth graders, who received the most intensive service program (P < .03). The benefit of the curriculam-only intervention appeared greatest among students in special education classes. Conclusions. Well-organized CYS that couples community involvement with classroom health instruction can have a positive impact on the sexual behaviors of young adolescents at risk for HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancy. This study also suggests the importance of including students in special education classes in health education programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-181
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume89
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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