What could you do? An interactive sexual decision-making program

What Could You Do? is a theoretically based interactive digital video disc (DVD) designed to educate young women about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and increase their ability to choose and implement risk reduction strategies. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and Slippery Rock University developed the program's content using information gathered from in-depth interviews with adolescent girls. They seemed to perceive little control over their sexual decisions, and revealed gaps and misperceptions in their knowledge of STDs. What Could You Do? supplies the information most needed to complete the mental models girls use when making these important personal decisions.

What Could You Do? Caitlin presents personal stories identifying decisions young women face in relationships. These vignettes identify several choice points at which viewers are presented with different options that the characters might choose. Choices leading to safer outcomes are reinforced with modeling of risk reduction behavior, including the resolve to stand by such a decision. Reflecting Bandura's theory of self-efficacy, the program incorporates cognitive rehearsal for these choices. Other Pelvicsegments of the program clarify what happens during a gynecological examination, offer general information about eight common STDs, and explain how to acquire condoms and insist on their use. Click here to watch clips.

What Could You Do? can be ordered for use in an applied setting, e.g., within a health education program or health care facility. A unique feature of the intervention is that it does not require the direct participation of educators, providers or other staff. In a pilot feasibility study, we found that patients in a medical clinic had an average of 45 minutes in the waiting room or exam room, while waiting for care, in which they could watch this video. Clinic staff were enthusiastic about the program and felt that it did not interfere with care, but rather that it helped to keep otherwise bored teens occupied with a useful tool. In a randomized clinical trial of the intervention's effectiveness among 300 sexually active adolescent girls, we found that girls assigned to view the DVD were more likely to become abstinent and, among those who continued to have sex, were less likely to have a condom fail from incorrect usage. Girls who watched the DVD were less likely to report having contracted an STD than girls who had not seen the DVD (Downs et al., 2004). Click here to order your own copy of What Could You Do? for use in your clinic, school, office or other setting!