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Role of context in evaluating neighbourhood interventions promoting positive youth development: a narrative systematic review

Abstract

Objectives

This narrative systematic review explored (1) how neighbourhood interventions promote positive youth development (PYD) and (2) the role of context for these interventions. We asked: How do neighbourhood interventions become effective in promoting PYD for adolescents aged 12–18 years?

Methods

Articles (n = 19) were analyzed using a framework integrating standards of health promotion evaluation and elements of the ecological systems perspective.

Results

First, results highlight the key characteristics of interventions that promote PYD. An intervention’s atmosphere encouraging supportive relationships and an intervention’s activities aiming to build skills and that are real and challenging promoted PYD elements including cognitive competences, confidence, connection, leadership, civic engagement, and feelings of empowerment. Secondly, this review identified facilitators (e.g. partnerships and understanding of the community) and constraints (e.g. funding and conflicts) to an intervention’s integration within its context.

Conclusions

Results regarding interventions’ characteristics promoting PYD confirm findings from past reviews. Our findings indicate that context is an important element of effective interventions. This review encourages future evaluations to analyze the role of context to build a better understanding of its role.

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Acknowledgments

This research was made possible through a research internship awarded to Josée Lapalme by the CIHR Training Grant in Population Health Intervention Research Network (PHIRNET). We would also like to thank Carole Poulin, Marie Jacques, Sophie Paquin, and André Gobeil from the Direction de santé publique de Montréal for their contribution to this project.

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Correspondence to Josée Lapalme.

Additional information

This article is part of the section “Knowledge synthesis, translation and exchange”.

Appendices

Appendix 1: Search strategy

Key words

  • #1. neighbo?r* OR communit* OR (physical OR built) adj2 (environment OR environments) OR after-school OR urban OR extracurricular OR sprawl OR ‘land use’

  • #2. intervention* OR program* OR policy OR policies OR prevention OR promotion OR initiative* OR event* OR solution* OR collaboration* OR effort* OR strateg*

  • #3. positive development OR growth OR well-being OR wellness OR self-esteem OR belonging OR self-determination OR interpersonal OR ‘social competenc* OR bonding OR aspiration* OR engagement OR (social) adj2 (cohesion OR capital) OR identit* OR morality OR self-efficacy

  • #4. youth OR adolescen* OR teen* OR boy* OR girl*

  • #5. Filter of unrelated studies

  • NOT clinical NOT treatment NOT therap* NOT depression NOT anxiety NOT substance NOT drug* NOT alcohol NOT gambling NOT sexual* NOT obesity NOT smok* NOT tobacco NOT food NOT fruit* NOT vegetable* NOT nutrition* NOT diet* NOT suicid* NOT disorder* NOT illness* NOT cancer* NOT housing NOT disabilit* NOT HIV NOT AIDS NOT violen* NOT crim* NOT stroke* NOT disease* NOT injur* NOT hepatitis NOT diabet*

  • End search #1 AND #2 AND #3 AND #4 AND #5

  • DATABASES:

  • OVID: Medline, Embase, PsycInfo, Social Work Abstract

  • Web of Science

Appendix 2: List of included articles

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Beaulac J, Olavarria M, Kristjansson E (2010) A community-based hip-hop dance program for youth in a disadvantaged community in Ottawa: implementation findings. Health Promot Pract 11(3 Suppl):61S-9S doi:10.1177/1524839909353738

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Lapalme, J., Bisset, S. & Potvin, L. Role of context in evaluating neighbourhood interventions promoting positive youth development: a narrative systematic review. Int J Public Health 59, 31–42 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-013-0449-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-013-0449-2

Keywords

  • Neighbourhood
  • Positive youth development
  • Interventions
  • Context
  • Ecological systems theory
  • Narrative review