Randomized trial of a peer resistance skill-building game for hispanic early adolescent girls

Anne E. Norris, Charles Hughes, Michael Hecht, Nilda Peragallo, David Nickerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background : Adolescents can use peer resistance skills to avoid being pressured into risky behavior, such as early sexual behavior. Avatar-based virtual reality technology offers a novel way to help build these skills. Objectives: The aims of this study were to evaluate the feasibility of an avatar-based virtual reality peer resistance skill building game (DRAMA-RAMA), to explore the impact of game play on peer resistance self-efficacy, and to assess how positively the game was perceived. Methods: Forty-four low-income early adolescent Hispanic girls were assigned randomly to either the intervention (DRAMA-RAMA) or attention control game (Wii Dancing With the Stars) condition. All participants were offered a five-session curriculum that included peer resistance skill content before playing their respective game for 15 minutes, once a week, for 2 weeks. Participants completed electronic surveys at baseline, after game play, and at 2 months to assess demographics, peer resistance self-efficacy, and sexual behavior. They also completed a paper-pencil game experience questionnaire immediately after game play. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t test, chi-square, and analyses of covariance. Results: Separate analyses of covariance showed a significant game effect at posttest for the peer resistance self-efficacy measure (F = 4.21, p < .05), but not at follow-up (F = 0.01, p = .92). DRAMA-RAMA was rated as positively as the Wii Dancing With the Stars (p > .26). Discussion: This randomized control trial provides preliminary support for the hypothesis that playing an avatar-based virtual reality technology game can strengthen peer resistance skills, and early adolescent Hispanic girls will have a positive response to this game.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalNursing research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • adolescence
  • Hispanic Americans
  • peer group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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