Evaluation of the skills for preventing injury in youth program : impact on health risk behaviors, injury and school connectedness

Chapman, Rebekah L., Sheehan, Mary C., & Buckley, Lisa (2012) Evaluation of the skills for preventing injury in youth program : impact on health risk behaviors, injury and school connectedness. In Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting, 7-10 March 2012, Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver, Canada. (Unpublished)

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Injury is the leading cause of death among young people, and involvement in health risk behaviors, such as alcohol use and transport-related risks, is related to increased risk for injury. Effective health promotion programs for adolescents focus on multiple levels, including relationships with peers and parents, student knowledge, behavior and attitudes, and school-level factors such as school connectedness.

This study describes the pilot evaluation of a comprehensive, multi-level injury prevention program for 13-14 year old adolescents, targeting change in injury associated with transport and alcohol risks. The program, called Skills for Preventing Injury in Youth (SPIY), incorporates two primary elements: an 8-week, teacher delivered attitude and behavior change curriculum with peer protection and first aid messages; and professional development for program teachers focusing on strategies to increase students’ connectedness to school.

Five Australian high schools were recruited for the pilot evaluation research, with three being assigned to receive intervention components and two assigned as curriculum-as-usual controls. In the intervention schools, 118 Year 8 students participated in surveys at baseline, with 105 completing surveys at follow up, six months following the intervention. In the control schools, 196 Year 8 students completed surveys at baseline and 207 at follow up. Survey measures included self-reported injury, risk taking behavior and school connectedness.

Results showed that students in the control schools were significantly more likely to report riding bikes without helmets, riding with dangerous drivers, having driven cars on the road, and using alcohol six months after the program, while the intervention group showed no such increase in these behaviors. Additionally, students in the control schools were significantly more likely to report having had pedestrian-related injuries at follow up than they were at the baseline measurement, while intervention school students showed no change. There was also a trend observed in terms of a decrease in bicycle related injuries among intervention school students, compared with a slight increasing trend in bicycle injuries among control students. Overall, scores on the school connectedness scale decreased significantly from baseline to follow up for both intervention and control students, however measurement limitations may have impacted on results relating to students’ connectedness.

Overall, the SPIY program has shown promising results in regards to prevention of students’ health risk behavior and injuries. Evidence suggests that the curriculum component was important; however there was limited evidence to suggest that teacher training in school connectedness strategies contributed to these promising results. While school connectedness may be an important factor to target in risk and injury prevention programs, programs may need to incorporate whole-of-school strategies or target a broader range of teachers than were selected for the current research.

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ID Code: 50442
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: No
Keywords: Injury and school, Youth, Injury in youth, Road safety
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 The Authors
Deposited On: 20 May 2012 22:58
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2013 23:41

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