Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
Objective: Test a novel intervention to help sexually experienced girls increase abstinence behaviors and attitudes. Design: A quasi-experimental repeated measures design using qualitative and quantitative data. Setting: Two alternative public schools. Participants: Thirty-three females whose mean age was 16 and who were 79% African American participated. Most (79%) had experienced a pregnancy. Intervention: A 6 session, weekly, interactive intervention was delivered. Data were collected at baseline, last session, and at 5 and 7 month follow-ups. Main Outcome Measures: Measured outcomes related to abstinence included participants’ reasons, behaviors, stages of change, and attitudes. Results: The most common reason for abstinence was not wanting to have sex. At each postintervention data collection point, most participants (greater than or equal to 74%) reported that they had purposefully avoided sex. Duration of consecutive days of abstinence increased although only significantly at 5 month follow-up. Abstinence behaviors increased with the largest change from first to last session. Stage of change advanced from preparation to action by 7 month follow-up. Attitudes toward abstinence became more favorable. Conclusion: Effective sexual risk reduction interventions are critically needed to promote safety. Nurses may assist young women to decrease their sexual risks by teaching them to practice periodic abstinence.