Study objective: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of a multilevel school based intervention on adolescents’ emotional wellbeing and health risk behaviours.
Design: School based cluster randomised controlled trial. Students were surveyed using laptop computers, twice in the first year of intervention and annually thereafter for a further two years.
Setting: Secondary schools.
Participants: 2678 year 8 students (74%) participated in the first wave of data collection. Attrition across the waves was less than 3%, 8%, and 10% respectively with no differential response rate between intervention and control groups at the subsequent waves (98% v 96%; 92% v 92%, and 90% v 89% respectively).
Main results: A comparatively consistent 3% to 5% risk difference was found between intervention and control students for any drinking, any and regular smoking, and friends’ alcohol and tobacco use across the three waves of follow up. The largest effect was a reduction in the reporting of regular smoking by those in the intervention group (OR 0.57, 0.62, and 0.72 at waves 2, 3, and 4 respectively). There was no significant effect of the intervention on depressive symptoms, and social and school relationships.
Conclusions: While further research is required to determine fully the processes of change, this study shows that a focus on general cognitive skills and positive changes to the social environment of the school can have a substantial impact on important health risk behaviours.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Funding: The Gatehouse Project was supported by grants from the Queen’s Trust for Young Australians, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, National Health and Medical Research Council and Department of Human Services, Victoria, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Sydney Myer Fund and the Catholic Education Office. Dr Lyndal Bond was funded by a Victorian Health Promotion Foundation/Department of Human Services Public Health Fellowship.
Conflicts of interest: none declared.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.