Original Study| Volume 29, ISSUE 1, P26-32, February 2016

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A Randomized Controlled Trial to Compare Computer-assisted Motivational Intervention with Didactic Educational Counseling to Reduce Unprotected Sex in Female Adolescents


      Study Objective

      To examine a computer-assisted, counselor-guided motivational intervention (CAMI) aimed at reducing the risk of unprotected sexual intercourse.

      Design, Setting, Participants, Interventions, and Main Outcome Measures

      We conducted a 9-month, longitudinal randomized controlled trial with a multisite recruitment strategy including clinic, university, and social referrals, and compared the CAMI with didactic educational counseling in 572 female adolescents with a mean age of 17 years (SD = 2.2 years; range = 13-21 years; 59% African American) who were at risk for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The primary outcome was the acceptability of the CAMI according to self-reported rating scales. The secondary outcome was the reduction of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease risk using a 9-month, self-report timeline follow-back calendar of unprotected sex.


      The CAMI was rated easy to use. Compared with the didactic educational counseling, there was a significant effect of the intervention which suggested that the CAMI helped reduce unprotected sex among participants who completed the study. However, because of the high attrition rate, the intent to treat analysis did not demonstrate a significant effect of the CAMI on reducing the rate of unprotected sex.


      Among those who completed the intervention, the CAMI reduced unprotected sex among an at-risk, predominantly minority sample of female adolescents. Modification of the CAMI to address methodological issues that contributed to a high drop-out rate are needed to make the intervention more acceptable and feasible for use among sexually active predominantly minority, at-risk, female adolescents.

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