While there is scientific evidence that Latino parents exert a significant impact on their adolescents'sexual decision-making, these parents tend to evade such communication. Media has proved effective in increasing awareness and effecting cultural and behavioral change in public health interventions. Yet, general mass media campaigns focused on increasing mother-child communication about sexuality have not yet reached specifically Spanish-speaking Puerto Rican mothers. We propose a participatory action research methodology in order to address the limited Puerto Rican mother-child communication about sexuality. Our approach utilizes a community collaboration with the Puerto Rican Cultural Center Inc. (PRCC), Spanish local media outlets, and Puerto Rican parents to address disparities in Puerto Rican youth health outcomes such as teen pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It proposes to develop and evaluate a mass media campaign that integrates existing scientific knowledge with local community and cultural factors.
Our specific aims seek (1) to establish a Community Advisory Committee to inform the planning, implementation and evaluation of the research project;(2) to conduct a baseline survey to identify factors contributing to Puerto Rican mother-child communication about sexuality and sexual health protection;(3) to conduct a Spanish media campaign designed to increase awareness about the role of mother-child communication in the protection against unplanned teen pregnancy, HIV, and STIs;(4) to evaluate the effectiveness of PSAs delivered through Spanish radio, and reinforced by Spanish TV and newspapers on mother's awareness, attitudes, and behaviors associated with mother-child communication about sexuality and sexual health protection, and (5) to disseminate the study's findings to community members and organizations in ways that enable them to enhance their ability to create changes in the Puerto Rican community. Our hypothesis is that the PSAs will result in increased awareness among Puerto Rican mothers with children 5 to 19 years old.

Public Health Relevance

If effective, the proposed intervention will potentially contribute to decrease teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV in Latino/a adolescents. Such an outcome would have a profound effect upon the structure of their lives in the future, enhancing their ability to pursue education and careers while decreasing the societal cost of teen pregnancy and STIs.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Comprehensive Center (P60)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1-RN (02))
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University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester
United States
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