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Journal of Public Health

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 141–149 | Cite as

Learning life skills strengthening basic competencies and health-related quality of life of socially disadvantaged elementary school children through the mentoring program "Balu und Du" ("Baloo and you")

  • Sibylle Drexler
  • Brigitte Borrmann
  • Hildegard Müller-KohlenbergEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Aim

This investigation aimed to determine whether socially disadvantaged elementary school children profit health-wise from their participation in the mentoring program “Balu und Du” in which their basic competencies are strengthened and their health-related quality of life is improved.

Subjects and methods

For the evaluation study we compared an intervention group of 141 children, or so-called "Mowglis" (treatment group), with a stratified control group of 158 children. The children in both the treatment and control groups were 6 to 10 years old and visited 38 different elementary schools at 12 participating locations in Lower Saxony, Germany. Children were recommended for “Balu und Du” by their teachers who were worried about their pupils’ disadvantaged family backgrounds and their personal and developmental problems. The control group children were also selected by the Mowglis’ teachers and were supposed to match the participants closely in the mentioned attributes. With their parents’ consents they participated in the evaluation study.

Results

The children in the treatment group (Mowglis) can profit from their participation in the project "Balu und Du" in the areas of health-related quality of life. Scholastic achievement and motivation increased in comparison to the control group and the willingness of the children to acquire knowledge and skills that are necessary for current and future problem-solving capacity grew.

Conclusion

The project “Balu und Du” was able to reach elementary school children from socially disadvantaged families and, by strengthening important basic competencies and their health-related quality of life, can prevent hazardous health characteristics.

Keywords

Socially disadvantaged children Mentoring project Health promotion Basic competencies Health-related quality of life 

Notes

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Funding

The evaluation of the mentoring program “Balu und Du” was supported by a grant from the Federal Ministry of Edcuation and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung 01 EL 0802) to Prof. Dr. Hildegard Müller-Kohlenberg. The funder played no role in any phase of writing this paper, and the views expressed are solely those of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sibylle Drexler
    • 1
  • Brigitte Borrmann
    • 1
  • Hildegard Müller-Kohlenberg
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.University of OsnabrueckOsnabrückGermany

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