Storytelling for Empowerment for Latino Teens: Increasing HIV Prevention Knowledge and Attitudes

Annabelle Nelson, David Cordova, Andrew S. Walters, Elsie Szecsy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Latino adolescents are disproportionately impacted by HIV, but researchers have documented few programs to prevent and reduce HIV risk. The Storytelling for Empowerment (SFE) HIV StoryBook was designed with an innovative ecodevelopment approach combining empowerment, family communication, and positive cultural identity. A mixed method design used both a randomized control group design, as well as grounded theory coding of semi-structured focus group interviews. For the quantitative method, a total of 96 adolescents (85% Latino, M age = 12.2) were randomized to either the SFE HIV StoryBook condition or a control condition and then tested at baseline and at 4 months post-baseline. Study findings indicated that teens who participated in the HIV StoryBook condition maintained sexual abstinence, increased their ability to communicate about sex, increased their intention to stop sexual advances, and increased their HIV prevention knowledge. For the qualitative method, seven focus groups of 38 participants, including staff, madres, teen participants, and graduates created rich description. Axial coding produced emergent themes, including an appreciation for the culturally affirming curriculum, increased family communication, and the embodiment by teens resulting in restraint and integrity. Results indicate that SFE has promise to stem HIV infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-231
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • HIV StoryBook
  • HIV prevention
  • Latino
  • Storytelling for Empowerment
  • adolescents
  • culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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