Leveraging Social Media to Inform Prevention and Intervention Efforts to Reduce Sexual Violence among Adolescents and Emerging Adults


Given the scope of sexual violence (SV) and the severity of consequences associated with SV, we propose an innovative pilot project to collect data on SV via a web-based survey, using a national sample of youth recruited through social media, as well as focus groups with youth and healthcare providers to better understand feasibility and acceptability issues with SV prevention and intervention efforts across settings (e.g., healthcare, web/social media, schools).

Aim 1: Collect anonymous data via a web-based survey, recruiting youth (13-25 years, n=2,500) using digital social networks (e.g., Twitter) to better understand the context of SV. Specifically, understanding context, consequences and motives for 3 types of sexual violence (perpetration and victimization): 1) Sexual coercion (verbal/psychological pressure or manipulation to perform sexual acts); 2) Sexual violence occurring when one or more individuals involved are under the influence of substances and 3) Forced sex. Participants will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win: a) $100 gift certificate (1); b) $50 gift certificate (2); or c) $25 gift certificate (3).

Aim 2a: Conduct focus groups (9 groups, 6-8 participants 13-25 years of age, 3 settings) and individual interviews in multiple settings (primary care, community college settings, reproductive health clinics) to review findings from the national data collection and ask participants to collaborate to determine the most important intervention delivery mechanisms and content of interventions (e.g., content of text messages that could be sent out to individuals for an intervention to reduce SV). Aim 2b: Conduct focus groups and individual interviews with providers in these settings to discuss integration of SV screeners into usual care based on the information we have gathered. All focus group participants will receive $50 in compensation for their time.

Data from this pilot will inform potential R34 and R01 studies to develop prevention and intervention programs in multiple healthcare and school settings as well as web/social media interventions.

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