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Study Finds Mass Media Campaigns Alone Can Effectively Reduce High-Risk Sexual Behavior Among Impulsive, Sensation-Seeking Young Adults
Date:4/3/2008

and in perceived ability to use condoms. Impact analysis suggests that the campaign may have resulted in 181,224 fewer unprotected intercourse occasions among the targeted population than would have normally occurred without exposure to the PSAs.

The study compared the effects of the campaign that aired on television over a three-month period targeting high sensation-seeking, impulsive decision-making young adults in Lexington, KY with an identical group in Knoxville, TN not exposed to a campaign. Both are moderate-sized cities with similar demographics.

"High sensation-seekers and impulsive decision-makers were surveyed for the study because of their proclivity for engaging in risky behaviors. The characteristics of high-sensation-value messages provide practitioners with useful guidelines for developing effective and persuasive health-related messages and placing them in appropriate channels," said Zimmerman.

The campaign's success is attributable to formative research used to develop and test campaign messages. More than 40 sets of focus groups were used to gain a better understanding of sexual risk taking and to pretest messages aimed at educating young adults on the risks of unhealthy sexual behavior.

Data were collected 8 months before the three-month campaign was conducted and for 10 months after the campaign ended--between May 2002 and January 2004.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the published report, contact Chris Stoughton at (301) 755-2773 or cstoughton@pire.org. Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation is dedicated to merging scientific knowledge and proven practice to create solutions that improve the health, safety, and well-being of individuals, communities, nations and the world. The Institute has a significant national presence in the area of prevention, with funded research projects at its ten research centers located around the country.
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SOURCE Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
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