Using Media Literacy Education for Adolescent Sexual Health Promotion in Middle School: Randomized Control Trial of Media Aware

J Health Commun. 2018;23(12):1051-1063. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2018.1548669. Epub 2018 Nov 23.


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: NCT02359422.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Contraception Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Literacy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media
  • Program Evaluation
  • School Health Services*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Sex Education / methods
  • Sexual Health* / education
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Associated data