11th International AIDS Impact Conference
October 2, 2013, 9:00-11:00am
Session: Late Breaker
Exploring focus groups as a ...
Acknowledgements
The project described is supported by Award Number R01
MH096660 from the National Institute of Mental Hea...
Backdrop to contextualize
discussion
 LGB youth face stigma and discrimination, and are often
marginalized by society. Th...
Online focus groups
 Aim: Guide program content and logistic decisions
for text-messaging healthy sexuality program for
G...
Participant demographics
(n=75)
5%
5%
19%
1%
15%
55%
Race
Asian
Black or African American
Mixed racial background
Native A...
Focus groups #1 and 2: Social
Support
When we asked youth what kinds of incentives we
needed to provide participants to st...
Focus groups #1 and 2: Increased
IMB
 “It was an amazing experience. It was a pleasure
to be part of it, and it has taugh...
Focus groups #3 and 4
To better understand the influence that the focus
groups might be having on behavior and support
ind...
Focus groups #3 and 4: Social
connectivity and norming delaying
sex
Sexually inexperienced:
 “This discussion has helped ...
Focus groups #3 and 4: Norming
safe sex behavior
 Sexually experienced:
 “learned that although a lot of my peers are ou...
Endorsement of changed/ reinforced
beliefs
50%
39%
28%
44%
55%
65%
75%
65%
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
100%
Views have
changed
Beha...
Conclusions
 Focus groups that use a national sampling frame
result in a sample of youth from both urban and
rural settin...
Thank you!
For more information, please contact:
Tonya Prescott
tonya@innovativepublichealth.org
* Thank you for your inte...
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Exploring focus groups as a healthy sexuality intervention among gay, bisexual, and queer adolescent males

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  • Talking about recent focus groups experiences with GBQ adolescent males. These focus groups were conducted as part of informative development work to inform a HIV prevention/ healthy sexuality text-messaging program. In conducting these groups themes emerged their may be a positive influence for participants from participation itself – and we’ll explore that today.
  • Before I begin I want to acknowledge our funding from the NIMH and our partners at Northwestern University, as well as our consultants.
  • Qualitative data to inform development of G2G
  • This sample includes not only GBQ adolescent males … but also those of minority race who may feel discriminated because of their race… and those in rural settings who may feel particularly isolated…. So the diversity of the national sample is noteworthy. Representation of minority race… 45% were of non-white race (e.g., Asian, Black, Mixed, Native American, or Other)29% were from a rural community … with fewer resources
  • Now let’s talk about why we thought the focus groups might be having an impact. At the end of FG1, we asked participants generally what we thought we’d need to do to keep guys in 6-month program. We expected incentives, gifts, online store… And instead we got feedback, but instead just being part of the program (or in their case the focus group) was reward enough. And here we have a couple examples of social support:
  • And here are two additional quotes that illustrate how guys thought they learned information from being part of the focus group discussion… Fostered by the focus group script: motivations to have sex, condom use, etc. A number of participants in FG1 remarked on how beneficial they found being in the FG, as such we decided to formally ask them about this in the second round of focus groups. Given the theme emerged in FG1, we decided to follow up formally in FG2 to get a better sense of the
  • Based on what we were hearing in the first two focus groups, we added particular questions in focus groups 3 and 4 to get at this idea that the focus group themselves may have an impact. … As a result of that, in the second round of FGs we asked some explicit questions about this for all participants. Items were included as part of the focus group script.
  • Here’s some examples of responses from the sesxually inexperienced group that suggest participants experienced increased social connectivity and reinforced for them that their decision to not have sex was the right decision for them and that there are other guys like them making the same decision
  • And this this slide provides some examples from the sexually experienced group talked about hwo the discussion to them reinforced and normed safe sexual behaviors for example using ocndoms… talking about sex..
  • Based on FG 3+4 responses only (since that’s when we formally asked items related to focus group influence), here we quantify the percent of guys who endorsed changed/ reinforced beliefs as a result of their participation. Interestingly, influence seems to be more notable for sexually active guys.
  • More cognizant of potential influence on constructs even during formative stages (talking to young people, focus groups) of intervention development… not just survey (contempletative), but the focus group (and interaction (bringing together like others who are making decisions similar to them)… we don’t necessarily consider the potential influence of those formative activities… And compared to resources expended for more intensive interventions, what if we could potentially move the needle with something as low cost as an online focus group. Perhaps warrants further exploration of focus groups to promote behavior change – at least for this population of GBQ adolescent males.
  • Exploring focus groups as a healthy sexuality intervention among gay, bisexual, and queer adolescent males

    1. 1. 11th International AIDS Impact Conference October 2, 2013, 9:00-11:00am Session: Late Breaker Exploring focus groups as a healthy sexuality intervention among gay, bisexual, and queer adolescent males Tonya Prescott BA1 Michele Ybarra MPH PhD1 L. Zachary DuBois PhD2 Jeffrey Parsons PhD3 Sheana Bull PhD4 Brian Mustanski PhD 2 1 Center for Innovative Public Health Research, San Clemente, California, USA 2 Impact Program, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA 3 Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY, USA 4 Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CA, USA
    2. 2. Acknowledgements The project described is supported by Award Number R01 MH096660 from the National Institute of Mental Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health. We would like to thank the entire G2G Team from Center for Innovative Public Health Research and Northwestern University. We‟d also like to acknowledge the contributions of our consultants, Drs. Sheana Bull and Jeffrey Parsons. Finally, we thank the participants for their time and willingness to participate in this study.
    3. 3. Backdrop to contextualize discussion  LGB youth face stigma and discrimination, and are often marginalized by society. This understandably leads to feelings of isolation for some youth (D'Augelli 2002; Hershberger and D'Augelli 1995)  Social support can play an important protective role in the lives of LGBT youth, reducing the effects of risk factors they may encounter (Anhalt & Morris, 1998)  Studies suggest that young LGBT people are more satisfied with social support from other LGBT people (Mercier & Berger, 1989; Munoz-Plaza, Quinn, & Rounds, 2002)  Online spaces may offer LGBT youth expanded opportunities for this type of social support (GLSEN, 2013)
    4. 4. Online focus groups  Aim: Guide program content and logistic decisions for text-messaging healthy sexuality program for GBQ adolescent males  Four focus groups (n=75)  November 2012 and January 2013  3 consecutive days  Stratified by sexual experience (anal/vaginal sex ever)  Asynchronous, bulletin-board style format  Password-protected website  Participants created anonymous username  Daily moderation and probing
    5. 5. Participant demographics (n=75) 5% 5% 19% 1% 15% 55% Race Asian Black or African American Mixed racial background Native American or Alaskan native 29% 71% Urbanicity Rural Urban
    6. 6. Focus groups #1 and 2: Social Support When we asked youth what kinds of incentives we needed to provide participants to stay engaged, they said: “For me just knowing that there are guys like me out there that are dealing with the same stuff and being reminded to stay safe and have fun with life is enough for me.” “I actually enjoyed this project because I got to get some idea of people that are just like me.”
    7. 7. Focus groups #1 and 2: Increased IMB  “It was an amazing experience. It was a pleasure to be part of it, and it has taught me so much more than I thought it would.”  “I think that participating in this project was amazing on its own, and “knowledge is power and a reward on its own.” These types of comments suggested to us that the focus group experience provided: a) important social support and b) information, motivation, and behavioral skills that may have served as a type of „intervention‟ for participants
    8. 8. Focus groups #3 and 4 To better understand the influence that the focus groups might be having on behavior and support indicators, in FGs 3-4, we added the following questions:  “In what ways do you think your views have changed (if at all) as a result of taking part in this Discussion?”  “In what ways do you think your behavior might change (if at all) as a result of taking part in this Discussion?”  “In what ways (if at all) has this Discussion changed your views or thoughts about having/not having sex?”  “How has the Discussion changed your views or thoughts (if at all) about using/not using condoms?”
    9. 9. Focus groups #3 and 4: Social connectivity and norming delaying sex Sexually inexperienced:  “This discussion has helped me realize just how many guys out there want to wait for the right guy for sex (and relationships in general). It gives me hope that in college, I won't have a problem finding an amazing guy! :)”  “I'll advocate safe sex and waiting for the right person around my friends more--instead of just being neutral on the topic”  “This group has helped me see that I'm not alone here.”
    10. 10. Focus groups #3 and 4: Norming safe sex behavior  Sexually experienced:  “learned that although a lot of my peers are out there having unprotected sex, there are a huge group of others that are just as cautious as I am. It sort of helped reinforce my safe sex practices. Which of course was nice :)”  “I feel more open to discussing my sexuality”  “The discussion has helped me see what I can do for myself to make it easier to use condoms all the time and why I should.”
    11. 11. Endorsement of changed/ reinforced beliefs 50% 39% 28% 44% 55% 65% 75% 65% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Views have changed Behavior might change Changed your views or thoughts about having/not having sex Changed your views or thoughts about using/not using condoms Sexually inexperienced (n=17) Sexually experienced (n=20)
    12. 12. Conclusions  Focus groups that use a national sampling frame result in a sample of youth from both urban and rural settings. The latter may have fewer in- person supports and resources.  Connecting with other GBQ guys over the 3-day period seemed to have a positive effect on teen participants, both in terms of support, and aspects of HIV preventive behavior  Further investigation to quantify the influence of focus groups on healthy sexual behaviors appears warranted
    13. 13. Thank you! For more information, please contact: Tonya Prescott tonya@innovativepublichealth.org * Thank you for your interest in this presentation. Please note that analyses included herein are preliminary. More recent, finalized analyses may be available by contacting CiPHR for further information.
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