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Evidence-Based Programs

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It's Your Game: Keep it Real

Overview of the Curriculum

It's Your Game...Keep it Real (IYG) is a classroom- and computer-based HIV, STI, and pregnancy prevention program for middle school students. Over the course of the program, students attend classroom sessions composed of group activities and individualized computer-based sessions.

Curriculum Objectives

The primary aims of the program include:

  • Encouraging delay in the initiation of sex.
  • Encouraging condom and contraception use among sexually active youth.

Curriculum Sessions

Classroom-Based Component: This is a two-year middle school curriculum implemented as a 24-lesson curriculum, using role modeling, individual journaling, and group discussion. Students are taught how to set personal limits regarding risk behaviors, to be aware of situations that might challenge these limits, and to use refusal skills and other tactics to protect these limits.

  • Seventh grade (twelve 50-minute lessons) topics include: characteristics of healthy friendships; setting personal limits and practicing refusal skills; information about puberty, reproduction, and STIs; and setting personal limits and practicing refusal skills related to sexual behavior.
  • Eighth grade (twelve 50-minute lessons) curriculum reviews the 7th grade topics and covers new ones, including: characteristics of healthy dating relationships; the importance of HIV, STI, and pregnancy testing if a person is sexually active; and skills training regarding condom and contraceptive use.

Computer-Based Component: The computer-based component includes embedded interactive activities, a 3-D virtual world "mall," and peer role model and expert videos, which children access using classroom computers, headphones, and a wireless network. The computer program also provides fact sheets and evaluates student progress with quizzes.

Unique Features of the Curriculum

Parent-Child Homework Activities: At each grade level, students are assigned six homework activities to complete with their parent or guardian. The homework assignments are designed to facilitate parent-child dialogue on topics such as friendship qualities, dating, and sexual behavior.

Classroom-Based and Computer-Based Components: The computer-based interactive activities reinforce and enhance the classroom-based curriculum.

Theoretical Framework

The program was developed using Intervention Mapping, a detailed process which incorporates both theoretical (Social Cognitive Theory, Theory of Triadic Influence, Social Influence Models) and empirical evidence.

Ordering and Training Information

Ordering: For information on the availability of curriculum materials, contact the University of Texas Prevention Research Center at www.sph.uth.tmc.edu/tprc/default.aspx?id=2356

Training: The full structural intervention provides access to five training sessions (three hours each) for implementers, dates for upcoming trainings, and three school staff presentations.

Evaluation Fact Sheet

Intervention

It’s Your Game: Keep it Real is a two-year computer-based curriculum for middle school children, developed to prevent HIV, STDs, and pregnancy. Children attend classroom sessions composed of group activities and individualized computer-based sessions. The primary aims of the program include the delay of sexual initiation and the reduction of risk for those who are sexually active. The program is designed to equip students to have healthy relationships with friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends. For students who are already sexually active, the intervention encourages participants to use condoms consistently and correctly, use an effective method of birth control, and get tested for HIV and other STIs.

Behavioral Findings

At the 9th-grade follow-up students participating in the intervention who were sexually inexperienced at baseline were significantly less likely to report having initiated sexual activity. Almost one-third (29.9%, n = 509) of the students in the comparison condition initiated sex by ninth grade compared with almost one-quarter (23.4%, n = 308) of those in the intervention condition. After adjusting for covariates, students in the comparison condition were 1.29 times more likely to initiate sex by the ninth grade than those in the intervention condition.

Research Design

The target population consisted of English-speaking middle school students from a large, urban, predominantly African-American and Hispanic school district in Southeast Texas. Ten middle schools were randomly assigned either to receive the intervention or to the comparison condition. Seventh-grade students were recruited and followed through ninth grade. Ninth-grade follow-up surveys were completed by 907 students (92% of the defined cohort). The primary hypothesis tested was that the intervention would decrease the number of adolescents who initiated sexual activity by the ninth grade compared with those in the comparison schools.

References

Tortolero, S. R., Markham, C. M., Fleschler Peskin, M., Shegog, R., Addy, R. C., Escobar-Chavez, S. L., & Baumler, E. (2010). It's your game: Keep it real: Delaying sexual behavior with an effective middle school program. Journal of Adolescent Health, 46(2), 169–179.