Text messaging services are becoming an increasingly popular way to provide sexual health information to teens, but little is known about who uses such services. This study assessed whether teens at a greater risk for negative sexual health outcomes use a sexual health text message service. A text message service that connects teens with sexual health educators was promoted in six public schools in one state in the Southeast. Students (n = 2,125) in four schools completed an online questionnaire assessing personal risk factors associated with negative sexual health outcomes and use of the text message service. Text message service users (n = 144) were more likely to have had sex, to have been in a relationship, and to come from a lower socioeconomic status background. Users also felt less connected to their schools and were slightly older than nonservice users. When all variables were entered into a logistic regression, only sexual experience was associated with service use. Sexual health text message services are designed to provide information to teens in an effort to prevent negative sexual outcomes. Such services seem to be reaching youth with increased risk of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease acquisition. This study provides evidence that teens most likely to benefit are also those most likely to use a sexual health text message service.
Keywords: adolescents; mHealth; sexual health; text messaging.
© 2015 Society for Public Health Education.