Girl Talk: A Smartphone Application to Teach Sexual Health Education to Adolescent Girls

Elsevier, Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, Volume 30, Issue 1, February 2017, Pages 23-28.
Authors: 
Lynae M.Brayboy, Alexandra Sepolen, Taylor Mezoian, Lucy Schultz, Benedict S.Landgren-Mills, Noelle Spencer, Carol Wheeler and Melissa A.Clark

Study Objective

Produce Girl Talk, a free smartphone application containing comprehensive sexual health information, and determine the application's desirability and appeal among teenage girls.

Design, Setting, Participants, and Interventions

Thirty-nine girls ages 12 to 17 years from Rhode Island participated in a 2-phase prospective study. In phase I, 22 girls assessed a sexual health questionnaire in focus groups. In phase II, 17 girls with iPhones used Girl Talk for 2 weeks and answered the revised sexual health questionnaire and interview questions before and after use.

Main Outcome Measures

Participants' responses to the sexual health questionnaire, interviews, and time viewing the application were used to determine feasibility and desirability of Girl Talk.

Results

Girl Talk was used on average for 48 minutes during participants' free time on weekends for 10- to 15-minute intervals. Reported usefulness of Girl Talk as a sexual health application from baseline (6 participants) to follow-up (16 participants) increased significantly (35.3% vs 94.1%; P < .001). Knowledge improved most in topics related to anatomy and physiology (70.5% to 74.7% out of 7 questions), sexuality and relationships (76.5% to 80.0% out of 10 questions), and STI prevention (75.6% to 79.0% out of 7 questions). Most phase II participants (13 out of 17, or 76.5%) were exposed to sexual health education before using Girl Talk, but 16 out of 17 participants (94.1%) stated that the application provided new and/or more detailed information than health classes.

Conclusion

Girl Talk can potentially connect teenage girls to more information about sexual health vs traditional methods, and participants recommended the application as a valuable resource to learn about comprehensive sexual health.