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Adolescent Sex and Alcohol Interventions Assessed

Group intervention may reduce risky behavior better than an information-control approach

THURSDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A group intervention aimed at reducing alcohol and sexual risk behaviors in adolescents in juvenile detention centers may alter risky behaviors, according to a randomized, controlled study published online Nov. 9 in Pediatrics.

Angela D. Bryan, Ph.D., of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and colleagues analyzed data from 484 adolescents (mean age, 15.8 years) in juvenile detention facilities. Participants were randomized to receive one of three group-based interventions: combined sexual and alcohol risk reduction, sexual risk reduction only, or a control group receiving sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention information.

At up to nine months of follow-up, the researchers found that condom-use behavior declined less in the active intervention groups than the control group. The active interventions were found to be more successful than the control intervention, but without significant differences between the two.

"We have shown that a brief, theory-driven one-session intervention can be effective in promoting behavior change, and because intervention leaders followed a structured program, this intervention could be easily disseminated more widely within the criminal justice setting," the authors write. "We have further demonstrated the feasibility of an HIV/STD risk-reduction intervention that includes an alcohol risk-reduction component specifically targeted at the event-level association of alcohol and risky sex."

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