Project MARS

Data from our previous research efforts suggests that it is heavy alcohol use in concert with sexual activity, rather than heavy alcohol use generally, that is most strongly related to lack of condom use (Bryan et al., 2007). Further, we have demonstrated higher rates of condom use at follow-up among adolescents who participated in a combined sexual risk reduction + alcohol risk reduction intervention as compared to a sexual risk reduction only intervention and an information only control intervention (Schmiege et al., 2009; Bryan et al., 2009). The goal of the proposed study is to build on those successful findings, and on ongoing work in the field which suggests that marijuana use is more prevalent than alcohol use generally and during sex than is alcohol use among criminally-involved adolescents. In addition, NIDA has noted that marijuana is a specific drug of abuse that may be an emerging risk factor for HIV and STDs, but one for which there is little basic or intervention research. In this project, we are conducting a randomized controlled trial to compare an expanded sexual risk reduction intervention that includes both an alcohol component and a marijuana component, to a sexual risk reduction intervention that includes only an alcohol component, and a sexual risk reduction only condition. Each of these interventions utilizes a group motivational enhancement therapy modality, but focused on alcohol and marijuana, alcohol use only, or sexual risk behavior only. We will explore genetic moderators of intervention efficacy, and hope to include biomarkers of intervention outcomes (i.e., STD testing).

Primary Investigator Angela Bryan