Support for Texting-Based Condom Negotiation Among Forcibly Displaced Adolescents in the Slums of Kampala, Uganda: Cross-sectional Validation of the Condom Use Negotiated Experiences Through Technology Scale

Moses Okumu, Carmen H. Logie, David Ansong, Simon Mwima, Robert Hakiza, Peter A. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Promoting sexual health among forcibly displaced adolescents is a global public health priority. Digital sexual communication strategies (eg, sexting) may increase adolescents' confidence in discussing sexual health issues and negotiating condom use. However, limited evidence exists describing validated measures for text-based condom negotiation in the literature. Objective: This study helps fill this gap by adapting and examining the psychometric properties of a condom use experience through technology (condom use negotiated experiences through technology [CuNET]) scale. Methods: Using peer network sampling, 242 forcibly displaced adolescents (aged 16-19 years) living in Kampala's slums were recruited for participation between January and March 2018. A subscale (embarrassment to negotiate condom use) of the Multidimensional Condom Attitudes Scale was adapted to incorporate sexting, yielding CuNET. Participants were randomly assigned to calibration and validation subsamples to conduct exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses to establish and validate the scale. CuNET measured participants' support levels for texting-based condom negotiation via sexting based on gender, and multivariable logistic regression was used to explore its associations with sexual health outcomes (recent consistent condom use, access to sexual and reproductive health services, and lifetime sexually transmitted infection testing). Results: The one-factor CuNET with the validation sample was valid (x2 4=5.3; P=.26; root mean square error of approximation=0.05, 90% CI 0.00-0.16; comparative fit index=0.99; Tucker-Lewis index=0.99; standardized root mean square residual=0.006), and reliability (Cronbach α=.98). Adolescent girls showed significantly lower levels of support for using sexting to negotiate condom use (mean 13.60, SE 0.70 vs mean 21.48, SE 1.23; P=.001). In multivariable analyses, a 1-point increase in the CuNET score was associated with increased odds of recent consistent condom use (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.73, 95% CI 1.24-2.41) but not with access to sexual and reproductive health services (aOR 1.51, 95% CI 0.99-2.30) or lifetime sexually transmitted infection testing (aOR 0.90, 95% CI 0.64-1.26). Conclusions: The unidimensional CuNET scale is valid and reliable for forcibly displaced adolescents living in slums in Kampala, gender-sensitive, and relevant for predicting consistent condom use among urban displaced and refugee adolescents. Further development of this scale will enable a better understanding of how adolescents use digital tools for condom negotiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere27792
JournalJMIR Public Health and Surveillance
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

Keywords

  • HIV prevention
  • condom negotiation
  • digital sexual communication
  • gender
  • refugee and displaced adolescents
  • sexting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Informatics

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