Objective The objective of this study was to test the effectiveness of a technology-based program to avert risky behaviors among rural African American youth. We hypothesized that the technology-based and group-based formats of the Pathways for African Americans Success (PAAS) program would lead to improvements in primary outcomes, and that the technology condition would perform at least as well as the group condition. Methods A three-arm Randomized Control Trial (RCT) ([N ¼ 141] technology-based delivery, [N ¼ 141] small group delivery, and [N ¼ 136] literature control) was conducted with 421 sixth graders and their caregivers, Summer 2009–Fall 2012. Families were recruited from five rural counties in Tennessee and completed baseline, posttest [M ¼ 14.5 (4.4) months after pretest] and long-term follow-up [M ¼ 22.6 (3.7) months after posttest]. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to test intervention-induced changes in both parents and youths’ primary outcomes (pretest to posttest) and on secondary targeted outcome, youth sexual risk, and substance use patterns (pretest to follow-up). Results Parents in the technology condition reported significant increases in strategies to reduce risk. Youth in the technology condition experienced a significant decline in intent to engage in risk behaviors and reduction in substance use and sexual risk behavior. Youth in the group condition experienced a significant increase in affiliation with deviant peers. Conclusions This study provides evidence of the ability of eHealth to improve parenting and reduce adolescent engagement in substance use and sexual risk behavior. Suggestions for dissemination in schools and health-care systems are offered.
- Computer applications/eHealth
- Evidence-based practice
- Risk behavior
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology