PI: Yannine Estrada, PhD
Primary Mentor: Victoria Behar-Zusman, PhD
Title: Assistant Scientist, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Study Title: Development of eHealth intervention prototypes to prevent drug use and sexual risk behaviors among Hispanic adolescents

Abstract: Drug use and sexual risk behaviors continue to disproportionately affect Hispanic youth, but the critical need to address these behavioral concerns among this population remains largely unresolved. Although successful family and school-based prevention interventions have been developed, there is also a need for individual-level intervention programming for Hispanic youth. While parenting interventions are efficacious in preventing adolescent risk behaviors with moderate to strong effects, many face-to-face preventive parenting interventions are not widely disseminated because they are costly to deliver, requiring significant resources, and have poor participation rates. Internet based, or eHealth, parenting interventions are less costly to deliver, but participation rates among parents in online intervention sessions are still low.
Similarly, evidence-based interventions are rarely available in school settings. Further, research indicates that sex education recommendations from the CDC are not being met in schools. Elevated drop-out rates among racial/ethnic minorities such as Hispanic students may also limit the accessibility of intervention programming when it is offered in school settings. Additionally, prevention interventions do not typically account for cultural variables that are highly salient for Hispanic youth, including gender roles and cultural values. Hence, there is a need for developing and testing individually-based interventions for youth that can be easily accessed and can facilitate widespread dissemination among Hispanic youth. Therefore, the purpose of this Center for Latino Health Research Opportunities-CLaRO Pilot study is to develop a prototype, i.e., proof of concept, for a mobile application (app) preventive intervention designed for Hispanic adolescents to reduce drug use and sexual risk behaviors.
To inform the development of the intervention prototypes, focus groups will be conducted with 65 participants (n=45 adolescents, n=20 parents) across the duration of the study. The focus groups will inform user needs and expectations along with structure and content. A thematic framework approach will be used to analyze the interviews. The prototype created in this study will be used in a future grant application to develop and test the efficacy of the developed preventive intervention in preventing drug use and sexual risk behaviors among Hispanic youth.