Purpose: The objective of the study was to examine whether latent class analysis (LCA) could (1) identify distinct subgroups of youth characterized by multiple risk and protective factors for early sexual initiation and (2) allow for a more nuanced assessment of the effects of a middle school program to prevent teen pregnancy/HIV/sexually transmitted infection. Methods: LCA was applied to data from the baseline (seventh grade) sample of 1,693 sexually inexperienced students participating in a randomized controlled trial of It's Your Game…Keep It Real in Harris County, Texas. Multilevel analysis was applied within subgroups defined by the latent classes to assess for potential differential program effects. Results: LCA identified 3 distinct profiles of youth: family disruption, other language household, and frequent religious attendance. Multilevel analyses found differential effects of the program across these profiles with a significant and substantial reduction (30%) in initiation of vaginal sex by ninth grade for students in the family disruption profile only. Conclusions: Application of LCA may hold promise for conducting more nuanced evaluations and refinements of behavior change interventions for youth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health