Sigma Research

Outcome evaluation of 'Assert Yourself!': assertiveness training for Gay men

Duration: July 1998 - October 1999

'Assert Yourself' was an assertiveness training course for Gay men designed by Enfield and HarinGay Health Authority, who also funded the evaluation. The aims of the evaluation were to generate knowledge about the performance of the intervention that would be useful for future implementations. This included establishing whether men who took part in the programme considered themselves to have become more assertive as a result; and to describe participants' perceptions of the usefulness of the course.

A self-completion ‘before-and-after’ questionnaire was used to gather information, including a standardised measure of assertiveness. This was supplemented with qualitative data from telephone interviews with course completers.

The course was advertised in the Gay press, internally at GMFA (an HIV prevention volunteering organisation) and via a health promotion mailing list. It was for Gay men and Bisexual men who wanted to be more assertive and confident in their everyday lives. It aimed to increase men’s ability to choose who they had sex with and what kind of sex they had, and to ensure men were equipped and competent to negotiate sex.

The evaluation generated data about: the characteristics of the men who attended; how men got on the course and the suitability of the venue; the extent to which those attending did not already have what the course had to offer (evidence of need); attrition; the effectiveness of the course at meeting its aims; the average cost of the course per attender.

The quality of the course administration and its delivery was high. The course provided a safe and supportive environment for the majority of men. The majority felt the course worked for them. The mean assertiveness score was significantly higher after than before the course and the amount of change in measured assertiveness was associated with their score before the course.

The final report was called Assert Yourself! Evaluating the performance of an HIV prevention intervention.

Key contact: Ford Hickson