Article Text

A meta-analysis of the effect of new-media interventions on sexual-health behaviours
  1. Rosie Swanton1,
  2. Vanessa Allom2,
  3. Barbara Mullan1,2
  1. 1School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, Perth, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Barbara Mullan, Health Psychology & Behavioural Medicine Research Group, School of Psychology & Speech Pathology, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia; barbara.mullan{at}


Background and objectives Direct access to individuals in non-intrusive ways, as well as the technical abilities of new-media to provide tailored information in relatively inexpensive ways, creates a unique opportunity for the delivery of health-related information. The aim of the present research was to examine the effect that new-media-based sexual-health interventions have on sexual-health behaviours in non-clinical populations and to determine the factors that moderate the effect of technology-based sexual-health interventions on sexual-health behaviours.

Data sources A systematic literature search of the following databases was conducted: MEDLINE, psycINFO, Global health, and EMBASE, using terms that captured three subject areas—‘Sexual-health’, ‘New Technology’ and ‘Intervention’.

Study eligibility criteria Randomised controlled trial, or a quasi-experiment; delivered exclusively via new-media; included sexual risk behaviour change as an outcome measure and delivered to non-clinical groups.

Results Twelve studies tested the effect of new-media interventions on condom use, whereas nine tested the effect on sexually transmitted disease testing. Results indicated that new-media interventions led to significant increases in both outcomes; however, these effects were not homogeneous. Moderation analyses revealed that interactivity of the intervention, target population and study design influenced the efficacy of interventions on both sexual-health outcomes, whereas intervention duration influenced sexually transmitted infection testing.

Conclusions and implications Interventions aiming to improve condom use are more successful when an interactive component is used. Further research needs to be conducted to reach specific at-risk populations.

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