The BARN system: Use and impact of adolescent health promotion via computer

Kris Bosworth, David H. Gustafson, Robert P. Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


This paper reports the results of a study of the acceptance and impact of BARN (Body Awareness Resource Network), a computer-based health promotion/behavior change system for use by adolescents. BARN provided students, grades 6-12, with information and skill-building activities on the following topics: AIDS, alcohol, and other drugs, body management, human sexuality, smoking, and stress management. During the 2 years that BARN use was studied, it was used heavily by both middle school and high school students, and particularly attracted adolescents who had already experimented with risk-taking behaviors. Those teens at higher risk for escalating problems selected the relevant BARN topics. Overall, users of BARN were more likely to remain free of risk-taking behaviors than nonusers of BARN. BARN use was also associated with improvements in risk-relevant behaviors such as contraceptive use, stress reduction, cessation of smoking by light smokers, reduction of alcohol use, and reduction of problems associated with alcohol use. No relationship was found between BARN use and initiation of sexual activity, stress prevention, or onset of either alcohol use or smoking. Results suggest that a computer-based system may be a powerful tool for the reduction of risk-taking behavior in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-482
Number of pages16
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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