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Games Health J. 2012 Aug 10;1(4):294-298.

A qualitative study to inform the development of a video game for adolescent HIV prevention.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT.



To inform the development of an interactive video game focused on behavior change to reduce risk and promote HIV prevention in young minority adolescents.


We used qualitative methods guided by community-partnered research principles to conduct and analyze 16 individual interviews and six focus groups with 10-15 year old boys and girls (36 unique participants) at a neighborhood-based non-profit organization serving youth from low-resource neighborhoods.


We identified three recurring themes. Adolescents report protective factors and facilitators to engaging in risk behaviors including: 1) their personal ability to balance the tension between individuation and group membership; 2) the presence of stable mentor figures in their life; and 3) the neighborhood in which they live.


By conducting a qualitative study guided by community-partnered research principles, we identified themes from our target audience that could be translated into a video game-based intervention, including the storyline and character development. These methods may increase the intervention's efficacy at promoting HIV prevention by making them more tailored and relevant to a specific population.


Adolescent; HIV; qualitative research; risk; video games

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