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Methods to assess youth engagement in a text messaging supplement to an effective teen pregnancy program
Shlay, J. C.,
Year Published: 2015
Journal of Biomedical Informatics
In this study, the authors explored youth engagement with an automated short message service (SMS) text messaging program designed to supplement a 25-session youth development program with demonstrated efficacy for reductions in teen pregnancy. Participants were 221 youth (ages 14-18; 56 percent Hispanic, 27 percent African American) enrolled in the intervention arm of a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Using two years of program data, the authors report on youth participation in the design of message content and response frequency to messages as an indicator of engagement. Youth were sent 40,006 text messages, of which 16,501 were bi-directional messages that requested a response; 82 percent of youth responded at least once. Response frequency varied by gender, age, and ethnicity. Questions and quizzes were among the most popular types of messages to which youth responded. The first two months of the program in each year had the highest response frequency. The authors discuss the implications for future research on SMS programs. Modified Author Abstract.