Cover: Cost of Talking Parents, Healthy Teens

Cost of Talking Parents, Healthy Teens

A Worksite-Based Intervention to Promote Parent-Adolescent Sexual Health Communication

Published in: Journal of Adolescent Health, v. 53, no. 5, Nov. 2013, p. 595-601

Posted on Mar 5, 2013

by Joseph A. Ladapo, Marc N. Elliott, Laura M. Bogart, David E. Kanouse, Katherine D. Vestal, David J. Klein, Jessica A. Ratner, Mark A. Schuster

Research Questions

  1. What are the costs of a worksite-based program designed to promote child-parent communication about sexual health?
  2. Is the program cost effective?

PURPOSE: To examine the cost and cost-effectiveness of implementing Talking Parents, Healthy Teens, a worksite-based parenting program designed to help parents address sexual health with their adolescent children. METHODS: We enrolled 535 parents with adolescent children at 13 worksites in southern California in a randomized trial. We used time and wage data from employees involved in implementing the program to estimate fixed and variable costs. We determined cost-effectiveness with nonparametric bootstrap analysis. For the intervention, parents participated in eight weekly 1-hour teaching sessions at lunchtime. The program included games, discussions, role plays, and videotaped role plays to help parents learn to communicate with their children about sex-related topics, teach their children assertiveness and decision-making skills, and supervise and interact with their children more effectively. RESULTS: Implementing the program cost $543.03 (standard deviation, $289.98) per worksite in fixed costs, and $28.05 per parent (standard deviation, $4.08) in variable costs. At 9 months, this $28.05 investment per parent yielded improvements in number of sexual health topics discussed, condom teaching, and communication quality and openness. The cost-effectiveness was $7.42 per new topic discussed using parental responses and $9.18 using adolescent responses. Other efficacy outcomes also yielded favorable cost-effectiveness ratios. CONCLUSIONS: Talking Parents, Healthy Teens demonstrated the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of a worksite-based parenting program to promote parent–adolescent communication about sexual health. Its cost is reasonable and is unlikely to be a significant barrier to adoption and diffusion for most worksites considering its implementation.

Key Findings

Implementing the program cost each worksite about $543 plus $28 for each parent enrolled.

  • This investment yielded meaningful improvements on multiple dimensions of child-parent communication, including number of sexual topics discussed and the quality and openness of communication.
  • Such costs are reasonable and unlikely to be a barrier to the program's adoption.

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