and Health Promotion among Women is designed to assist participants
between 16 and 29 years of age in developing and following a sound
sexual health plan. Based on the concepts of empowerment, group social
support and culturally sensitive skill building, this program comprises
four 1 1/2- to 2-hour small (2-8 participant) group sessions conducted
over the course of three months. Video segments promote group discussion,
spark group role plays and engage participants in cognitive rehearsal
and guided exercises designed to encourage healthy choices about one's
body and sexuality. Specifically, this program encourages women to
think about the physical and emotional consequences of unsafe sex.
It helps them achieve a sense of mastery and positive expectations
when discussing sexual history, HIV/AIDS testing, monogamy, spermicide
and condom use and other health-related concerns with their partners.
In addition, the program teaches participants how to effectively negotiate
safer sex with one's partner and maintain safer sex goals. This program
was field tested with pregnant low-income African-American and white
women who were using medical center obstetrics services in Akron,
Ohio. Compared to control groups, participants showed significant
and sustained increases in HIV/AlDS knowledge, safer sex goals, and
safer-sex behaviors, including spermicide and condom purchase and
and Health Promotion among Women can be implemented in clinics and
community-based organizations. Although the original field study was
conducted with pregnant women, the program is appropriate for older
adolescents and young adult women (ages 16+).
The field test
participants included 206 unmarried women in their second trimester
of pregnancy, who were using obstetric clinic services. Their ages
ranged from 16 to 29 years. The average age of participants was 21.
The field test population was 57% African-American, 40% White,
3% other ethnic origins.
This program is
designed to last a total of 6-8 hours. The program schedule is fairly
flexible and can be adjusted to suit the particular site. However,
it is recommended that the four program sessions be conducted over
a period of two to three months, with participants attending a single
1 1/2- to 2-hour session every two or three weeks.
A female masters-level
psychologist or health educator should deliver the interventions.
One leader is recommended for each group of up to eight women. They
should have the ability to empathize with participants, a good working
knowledge of AIDS and health concerns and the ability to communicate
a positive health message. Training should include group process skills,
role playing and associated skills and multicultural psychology. Video
feedback on a practice session, if possible, is also suggested.