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Evaluation of a Multi-Session Group Designed to Prevent Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Minors: The "My Life My Choice" Curriculum

NCJ Number
Date Published
24 pages
Katherine Bright; Amy Farrell; Jennifer Paruk; Katherine Bright; Megan Bair-Merritt; Sarah R. Preis
Publication Type
Research (Applied/Empirical), Report (Study/Research), Report (Grant Sponsored), Program/Project Evaluation, Program/Project Description, Instructional Material (Programmed), Curriculum
Grant Number(s)
This article reports on a multi-year, multi-site evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the Boston-based My Life My Choice (MLMC) prevention group.
The commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) of children is a consequential public health and criminal justice problem, but no CSE prevention programs have been evaluated. The Boston-based My Life My Choice (MLMC) program offers a multisession psychoeducation group to girls who are identified as "at-disproportionate-risk" for CSE victimization and trains other agencies throughout the United States to offer this curriculum. The curriculum was designed to improve knowledge about the commercial sex industry and shift-related attitudes and behaviors. Using a one-group longitudinal design, changes in participant behavior and CSE knowledge were measured at baseline (n = 354), upon group completion (n = 296), and 3 months after group completion (n = 241). The sample was 95 percent female-identified, 28 percent Black/African American, 26 percent White/non-Hispanic, 25 percent Hispanic/Latina, and 22 percent other race. The mean age of participants was 15.6 years old. Approximately 28 percent identified as bisexual, and 10 percent identified as lesbian, asexual, pansexual, or other. In multivariable-adjusted models, participants reported fewer episodes of sexually explicit behavior at follow up as compared to baseline (relative risk [RR]: 0.52, 95 percent confidence interval [CI]: 0.37-0.72 at Follow-up 1, and 0.53, 95 percent CI: 0.35-0.82 at Follow-up 2). Participants were 24 percent less likely to report dating abuse at Follow-up 2 as compared to baseline (p = .06). In addition, as compared to baseline, participants were 40 percent more likely to have given help or information about CSE to a friend at Follow-up 2, and participants demonstrated increased knowledge and awareness about CSE and its harms over the follow-up period. Although additional evaluation using a comparison group and long-term follow up would increase confidence that observed changes are attributable to the group instead of other factors, results suggest that the MLMC curriculum may be effective in reducing the risk of CSE and improving other conditions for youth who are at-disproportionate-risk of CSE. (publisher abstract modified)
Date Created: July 20, 2021