Study found text messaging useful in violence prevention in high-risk adolescent females

teen healthNowadays, the internet and mobile technology had been utilized in several ways to improve patient care and to provide efficient medical assistance. Mobile phone applications and short messaging services have been, through the years, useful tools in the successful enhancement of healthcare assistance.

Recently, a study in teenage health led by Dr. Megan Ranney, emergency medicine attending physician at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the pediatric division of Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, explored the potential of the text-messaging system to aid in the prevention of violence in high risk adolescent females.

Ranney observed that majority of adolescents use mobile phones and a big percentage of them use text-messaging. However, it was found out that few studies has been conducted which explores the potential of mobile phones to be utilized in the adolescent age group in preventive medical management through the use of text messaging services to support and improve teen health.

In this health informatics research, which was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, adolescent females in the age group of 13 to 17 who have a history of peer-violence and have had symptoms of depression were included. The subjects were screened and recruited during emergency room visits for any medical complaint. The participants were interviewed and the data from the session was recorded and transcribed word per word. The trained interviewers asked the teens as to their preferences regarding text message based preventive management.

The results showed that the text messaging intervention was useful as a reinforcement to already present coping mechanisms. The participants however have a few concerns regarding the privacy of the messages and the cost the service entails. The content of the message was preferred by the teens to have a conversational tone, however it must sound like the provider is knowledgeable at the same time. The study also showed that the adolescents prefer the messages to be customized or tailored fit to their needs in a daily basis and should be adapted to their preferences while all the while maintaining the message’s simplicity and positivity.

The study concluded that high-risk adolescent females who visit the emergency room department for various medical complaints generally were interested in the preventative text messaging service. They would also recommend the service to their peers.

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