Feasibility study of peer-led and school-based social network Intervention (STASH) to promote adolescent sexual health

Mitchell, K. R. et al. (2021) Feasibility study of peer-led and school-based social network Intervention (STASH) to promote adolescent sexual health. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 7, 125. (doi: 10.1186/s40814-021-00835-x) (PMID:34127082) (PMCID:PMC8201683)

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Abstract

Background: Effective sex education is the key to good sexual health. Peer-led approaches can augment teacher-delivered sex education, but many fail to capitalise on mechanisms of social influence. We assessed the feasibility of a novel intervention (STASH) in which students (aged 14–16) nominated as influential by their peers were recruited and trained as Peer Supporters (PS). Over a 5–10-week period, they spread positive sexual health messages to friends in their year group, both in-person and via social media, and were supported to do so via weekly trainer-facilitated meetings. The aims of the study were to assess the feasibility of STASH (acceptability, fidelity and reach), to test and refine the programme theory and to establish whether the study met pre-set progression criteria for continuation to larger-scale evaluation. Methods The overall design was a non-randomised feasibility study of the STASH intervention in 6 schools in Scotland. Baseline (n=680) and follow-up questionnaires (approx. 6 months later; n=603) were administered to the intervention year group. The control group (students in year above) completed the follow-up questionnaire only (n=696), 1 year before the intervention group. The PS (n=88) completed a brief web survey about their experience of the role; researchers interviewed participants in key roles (PS (n=20); PS friends (n=22); teachers (n=8); trainers (n=3)) and observed 20 intervention activities. Activity evaluation forms and project monitoring data also contributed information. We performed descriptive quantitative analysis and thematic qualitative analysis. Results: The PS role was acceptable; on average across schools >50% of students nominated as influential by their friends, signed up and were trained (n=104). This equated to 13% of the year group. Trained PS rarely dropped out (97% completion rate) and 85% said they liked the role. Fidelity was good (all bar one trainer-led activity carried out; PS were active). The intervention had good reach; PS were reasonably well connected and perceived as ‘a good mix’ and 58% of students reported exposure to STASH. Hypothesised pre-conditions, contextual influences and mechanisms of change for the intervention were largely confirmed. All bar one of the progression criteria was met. Conclusion: The weight of evidence supports continuation to full-scale evaluation. Trial registration: Current controlled trials ISRCTN97369178.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Broccatelli, Dr Chiara and Moore, Professor Laurence and Barry, Dr Sarah and Mitchell, Professor Kirstin and Forsyth, Mr Ross and Simpson, Professor Sharon and McCann, Dr Mark and Wetherall, Miss Kirsty and McDaid, Professor Lisa and Purcell, Dr Carrie
Authors: Mitchell, K. R., Purcell, C., Simpson, S. A., Broccatelli, C., Bailey, J. V., Barry, S. J.E., Elliott, L., Forsyth, R., Hunter, R., McCann, M., McDaid, L., Wetherall, K., and Moore, L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Robertson Centre
Journal Name:Pilot and Feasibility Studies
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:2055-5784
ISSN (Online):2055-5784
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Pilot and Feasibility Studies 7: 125
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
172849AN EXPLORATORY STUDY TO TEST STASH, A PEER-LED INTERVENTION TO PREVENT AND REDUCE STI TRANSMISSION AND IMPROVE SEXUAL HEALTH IN SECONDARY SCHOOLSLaurence MooreScottish Government (SCOTGOV)14/182/14HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
Complexity in healthMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/1HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU16
Relationships and healthMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/3HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU18
168560MRC SPHSU/GU Transfer FellowshipsLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_PC_13027HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
727631SPHSU Core Renewal: Relationships & Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLisa McDaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/11IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU11
727661SPHSU Core Renewal: Complexity in Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/14IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU14