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Journal Articles Journal of Medical Internet Research Year : 2020

Expert Opinions on Web-Based Peer Education Interventions for Youth Sexual Health Promotion: Qualitative Study


Background: Participatory education, in the form of peer education, may be an effective way to promote youth sexual health. With the advent of the internet, web-based interventions have potential as an attractive new tool for sexual health promotion by peers. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate professional experts' opinions on the perspectives for web-based participatory interventions to promote sexual health by peers and among young people. Methods: Semistructured interviews were carried out with 20 experts (stakeholders in direct contact with young people, researchers, and institutional actors) specializing in sexual health, health promotion, peer education, youth, internet, and social media. After coding with N'Vivo, data were subjected to qualitative thematic analysis. Results: The majority of experts (18/20, 90%) found this kind of intervention to be attractive, but highlighted the necessary conditions, risks, and limitations attached to developing an acceptable peer intervention on the internet for sexual health promotion among young people. Five main themes were identified: (1) an internet intervention; (2) sexual health; (3) internet skills, and uses and the need for moderation; (4) multifaceted peers; and (5) minority peers. In the absence of youth interest for institutional messages, the experts highlighted the attractive participatory features of web-based interventions and the need for geolocalized resources. However, they also warned of the limitations associated with the possibility of integrating peers into education: peers should not be mere messengers, and should remain peers so as not to be outsiders to the target group. Experts highlighted concrete proposals to design an online participatory peer intervention, including the process of peer implication, online features in the intervention, and key points for conception and evaluation. Conclusions: The experts agreed that web-based participatory interventions for youth sexual health promotion must be tailored to needs, uses, and preferences. This type of action requires youth involvement framed in an inclusive and holistic sexual health approach. Peer education can be implemented via the internet, but the design of the intervention also requires not being overly institutional in nature. Involving young people in their own education in an interactive, safe online space has the potential to develop their empowerment and to foster long-term positive behaviors, especially in the area of sexual health.
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hal-03112833 , version 1 (17-01-2021)



Philippe Martin, Corinne Alberti, Serge Gottot, Aurelie Bourmaud, Elise de La Rochebrochard. Expert Opinions on Web-Based Peer Education Interventions for Youth Sexual Health Promotion: Qualitative Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2020, 22 (11), pp.e18650. ⟨10.2196/18650⟩. ⟨hal-03112833⟩
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