This study examined the short-term efficacy of Media Aware, a classroom-based media literacy education (MLE) program for improving adolescents' sexual health outcomes. In a randomized control trial, schools were randomly assigned to the intervention (N = 5 schools) or health promotion control (N = 4 schools) group. Students completed questionnaires at pretest (N = 880 students) and immediate posttest (N = 926 students). The Media Aware program had a significant favorable impact on adolescent outcomes related to sexual health, including increased self-efficacy and intentions to use contraception, if they were to engage in sexual activity; enhanced positive attitudes, self-efficacy, and intentions to communicate about sexual health; decreased acceptance of dating violence and strict gender roles; and increased sexual health knowledge. Program effects were also found for media-related outcomes, including enhanced media deconstruction skills and increased media skepticism. Media deconstruction skills mediated the program's impact on students' intentions to communicate with a medical professional about sexual health issues. This study provides support for the use of MLE with adolescents to promote sexual health.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02359422.