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AIDS Educ Prev. 1991 Winter;3(4):328-40.

Pregnancy, STDS, and AIDS prevention: evaluation of New Image Teen Theatre.

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  • 1UCSD/SDSU Joint Clinical Psychology Program 98182.


New Image Teen Theatre combines peer education and theatre in an informative and entertaining package. This study was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of New Image Teen Theatre on altering teenagers' attitudes, knowledge, and intentions regarding sexual behavior. A total of 143 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 19 viewed the performance. The performance focused on the prevention of pregnancy, AIDS, and STDs and included content aimed at increasing communication. Teen participants completed pretest and posttest questionnaires. Almost half of the adolescents reported having engaged in sexual intercourse. About one third of the sexually active reported never using birth control, and only 21% reported consistent use of condoms. These results confirm adolescents' risk for pregnancy, STDs, and AIDS in particular. Following the performance, the teens reported significantly more willingness to discuss sexual issues with others, significantly greater intention to use birth control (for sexually active teens), and demonstrated significantly greater sexual knowledge. Furthermore, they indicated that they had experienced more positive emotions than negative emotions while viewing the production. Results suggest that theatre education may set the stage for more comprehensive interventions designed to prevent pregnancy, STDs, and AIDS.


Teen theater as a nontraditional form of education combining peer education and theater in an entertaining and informative manner. The study evaluates Planned Parenthood's Teen Theater and its influence on a teenagers willingness and comfort in discussing sexual issues with others, intentions to delay intercourse, intention to use birth control, intention to protect oneself from STD's, and knowledge and affect. A pre and post test were given to 143 subjects (73 male and 70 female) who participated at 4 churches and 3 schools. Most had been recommended by youth groups. Ethnic diversity was evidenced in 54 whites, 29 blacks, 32 Hispanics, 5 Asians, 4 Native American, and 12 others not identified. Correlation matrices were constructed to assess the degree of correlation among pairs of similar items, and between affect and other dependent measures. Trends were measured by means and standard deviation; multifactorial ANOVAs were used to assess differential effects of site, gender, and ethnicity. Independent t test were used to assess differences between those who answered all questions versus those who answered few. Dependent t tests were used to assess significant changes pre and post test for discussion, comfort, intention, and knowledge variables. The results indicated sexual activity to constitute 41%of the group with a mean frequency of 2.46 for coitus. 37.9% reported having sex more than 1/week, 24.1% only once, 17.2% 1/month, 15.5% 1/week, and 5.2% 2/month. 31% reported never using birth control and 47.6% consistently used contraceptives. 21.4% reported occasional use. The pill and condom were the items of choice. ANOVAs indicated that teens responding to all questions engaged in more intercourse (t(126)=2.96, p.005). After viewing teen theater, there was more willingness to discuss sexual topics (t(80)=10.01, p.001), greater intention to use birth control (t(43)=3.02, p.01), and had greater sexual knowledge (t(92)=10.01, p.01). Significant effects on discussion, intention to use condoms and delay intercourse were not found. There was also significant relationship between affect variables and other dependent variables. In separate analysis of discussion and knowledge, each aspect was found to be significant for discussion and all but 1 knowledge item. The results suggest that the production may influence peer and parent communication as well as birth control use, albeit not a powerful intervention but moving in the direction of a more sexually responsive manner. This intervention may be used to attract larger numbers and to set the stage for more intensive interventions. Aiding teens in overcoming objections to condom use is still needed.

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