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J Health Commun. 2014;19(2):152-69. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2013.811318. Epub 2013 Oct 4.

Development and implementation of mass media campaigns to delay sexual initiation among African American and White youth.

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a School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , Chapel Hill , North Carolina , USA.


Reducing new HIV/STD infections among at-risk adolescents requires developing and evaluating evidence-based health communication approaches. Research overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that early sexual initiation is associated with STDs and other negative outcomes in later years (e.g., unintended pregnancy). The authors' research group secured funding from the National Institute of Mental Health to develop, implement, and rigorously evaluate televised mass media campaigns to delay initiation of sexual intercourse among African American and White adolescents in two cities in the Southeastern United States. The focus of the present study is on the development and implementation of the campaigns, including (a) rationale and theoretical underpinnings; (b) collection, screening, and assessment of existing public service announcements; (c) development of new public service announcements; (d) study design and campaign airing plan; and (e) message exposure achieved in the campaigns. Health communication campaigns hold much promise in reaching at-risk adolescent populations with targeted, timely, and relevant risk-reduction messages.

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