Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

The barriers and facilitators to young people's engagement with bidirectional digital sexual health interventions: A mixed methods systematic review

Bennett, Clare ORCID:, Musa, Massirfufulay Kpehe, Carrier, Judith ORCID:, Edwards, Deborah ORCID:, Gillen, Elizabeth ORCID:, Sydor, Anna, Dunn, Catherine, Jones-Mahoney, Kaye, Nute, Alex and Kelly, Daniel ORCID: 2023. The barriers and facilitators to young people's engagement with bidirectional digital sexual health interventions: A mixed methods systematic review. BMC Digital Health 1 , 30. 10.1186/s44247-023-00030-3

[thumbnail of s44247-023-00030-3.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Background: Sexual health is fundamental to the overall health and wellbeing of individuals and to the social and economic development of communities and countries. However, internationally young people endure a disproportionate burden of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies which can be associated with poor psycho-social outcomes. Digital sexual health interventions have been developed to increase young people’s access to sexual health services, but are currently underutilised. Aim: This systematic review sought to identify the barriers and facilitators to young people’s engagement with bidirectional digital sexual health interventions, which are standalone two-way tailored interventions between a young person and healthcare professional. Methods: The review was conducted in accordance with the JBI methodology for mixed methods systematic reviews, following a convergent integrated approach to synthesis and integration of qualitative and quantitative evidence. Searches of ten electronic databases were conducted, spanning database inception to January 2022. No restrictions were imposed on language, geographical location or community setting. All included studies were critically appraised with JBI Critical Appraisal tools. Data extraction was performed using standardised tools, followed by data transformation. Data synthesis followed the convergent integrated approach. Each stage was conducted by two independent reviewers. Results: Eight thousand four hundred thirty-nine titles and abstracts and, subsequently, 255 full-texts underwent review. Nine studies were selected for inclusion with no studies added following forward and backward citation tracking. The included studies comprised three qualitative and six quantitative designs. Three meta synthesised findings were identified: (1) The design of a digital intervention for adolescent sexual health needs to reflect the end users’ specific needs (2) Young people need to feel comfortable when using a digital sexual health intervention (3) Potential barriers to engagement need to be addressed. The review identified that although barriers and facilitators to promoting young people’s engagement with bidirectional digital sexual health interventions are nuanced, young people’s privacy and security need to be prioritised for them to engage with digital interventions, regardless of the platform of choice. Conclusions: Co-production of digital sexual health services, in partnership with young people, has shaped many of the insights reported in this systematic review. Further international research which places an emphasis on young people’s perspectives is vital to unleash the full potential of digital technology in this domain.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Publisher: Springer Nature
ISSN: 2731-684X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 July 2023
Date of Acceptance: 19 July 2023
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 18:48

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics