Psychological mediating factors in an intervention to promote adolescent health care-seeking
Some of the highest rates of curable sexually transmitted diseases in the USA are found among adolescents. Routine, comprehensive health care that includes a sexual history may contribute to alleviating this problem. We designed and ran a three-session small-group workshop for adolescents, using local community organizations as intervention sites, with peers (typically 2-3 years older) helping facilitate the interactive sessions. Outcomes are summarized elsewhere: in this paper, we present an examination of theoretically based psychological mediating factors that we sought to influence during the intervention. Adolescents' health care-seeking beliefs, general attitudes to seeking care, and intentions to do so all changed such that they held more positive beliefs, evaluated health care more favorably, and developed stronger intentions to seek care. Furthermore, relationships among these constructs were strengthened according to theoretical precepts. Adolescents' self-efficacy and their perceptions of social norms pertaining to health care-seeking, however, were unaffected by the intervention. We explored gender differences in mediating factors, finding no interaction, although females did score higher on post-intervention attitude and intention measures.