The effectiveness of digital sexual health interventions for young adults : a systematic literature review (2010-2020)

Journal article


Sewak, Aarti, Yousef, Murooj, Deshpande, Sameer, Seydel, Tori and Hashemi, Neda. (2023). The effectiveness of digital sexual health interventions for young adults : a systematic literature review (2010-2020). Health Promotion International. 38(1), pp. 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daac104
AuthorsSewak, Aarti, Yousef, Murooj, Deshpande, Sameer, Seydel, Tori and Hashemi, Neda
Abstract

There has been a proliferation of digital sexual health interventions targeting adolescents; however, limited evaluative reviews have compared the effectiveness of multiple digital tools for sexual health literacy and behaviour change. This study conducted a systematic literature review, screened 9881 records and analysed 61 studies. Findings suggest that websites and mobile phones dominate digital sexual health interventions, with a majority effectively delivering cognitive (e.g. awareness and attitudes about sexual and reproductive health) and behavioural outcomes (e.g. abstinence and use of contraception). The most popular sexual health promotion mechanisms were interactive websites, text messaging and phone calls, and online education programmes, followed by mobile applications—fewer studies in this review utilized social media, games and multimedia. Previous reviews focused on single outcome measures (e.g. sexually transmitted infection testing) to assess interventions’ effectiveness. The current review moves beyond single outcome measures to cover a wider range of behavioural and non-behavioural sexual health issues and contexts covered in the literature. Four main categories were analysed as outcomes: cognitive perceptions, promoting sexual health-related behaviours, promoting sexual health-related products and services, and impact (viral load). Seventy-nine per cent of interventions focused on preventive sexual health behaviours and products (e.g. condoms) and services (e.g. HIV testing). Overall, 75% of studies effectively changed sexual health behaviour and cognitive perceptions. However, the digital-only tools did not vary from the blended formats, in influence outcomes, even after categorizing them into behavioural or non-behavioural outcomes. Compared to previous systematic reviews, more studies from the last decade used rigorous research design in the form of randomized controlled trials, non-randomized control trials, and quasi-experiments and lasted longer.

Keywordssystematic literature review; sexual health interventions; young adults; digital technology; behaviour change
Year01 Jan 2023
JournalHealth Promotion International
Journal citation38 (1), pp. 1-14
PublisherNLM (Medline)
ISSN1460-2245
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daac104
Web address (URL)https://academic.oup.com/heapro/article/38/1/daac104/7033126
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range1-14
Author's accepted manuscript
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Open
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All rights reserved
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Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Print09 Feb 2023
Publication process dates
AcceptedJan 2023
Deposited15 May 2024
Supplemental file
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File Access Level
Open
Supplemental file
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File Access Level
Open
Additional information

© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

The authors are thankful for the research grants provided by Griffith University under the Early Career Research (ECR) publication scheme.

Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/90864/the-effectiveness-of-digital-sexual-health-interventions-for-young-adults-a-systematic-literature-review-2010-2020

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