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Journal of Public Health

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 159–170 | Cite as

Evaluation of school-based life skills programmes in a high-risk sample: a controlled longitudinal multi-centre study

  • I. Menrath
  • E. Mueller-Godeffroy
  • C. Pruessmann
  • U. Ravens-Sieberer
  • V. Ottova
  • M. Pruessmann
  • M. Erhart
  • D. Hillebrandt
  • Ute ThyenEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Aim

Previous studies have demonstrated a positive effect of school-based life skills programmes on the prevention of substance abuse and other health-risk behaviours in children and adolescents. However, the comparison and interpretation of study results is difficult due to methodological problems. In particular, the effectiveness of such programmes within high-risk groups remains uncertain. In this study, we investigated the effects of two school-based life skills programmes on substance abuse and subjective health in a sample with a high proportion of socially disadvantaged pupils.

Subjects and methods

We conducted a randomised controlled intervention study with repeated measurements over time. The sample included pupils of secondary schools in northern Germany with an overrepresentation of pupils with low socioeconomic status. We evaluated effects of the programmes on substance abuse and psychosocial outcomes. In addition, we conducted a process evaluation.

Results

The sample included 102 classes with a total of 1,561 pupils. Twenty-five per cent of the pupils were of a low socioeconomic status. We found significant positive effects regarding the reduction of smoking and some improvements in the pupils’ life skills in the intervention group compared to the control group. Socioeconomic status had no moderating effect on the results.

Conclusion

School-based life skills programmes have a positive effect on smoking prevention regardless of socioeconomic status. Socially disadvantaged children benefit from such programmes to a similar extent as other pupils. Pupils and teachers appreciate the programmes. A supportive school environment appears to be an important factor in the successful implementation of school-based life skills programmes.

Keywords

School-based life skills programme Socially disadvantaged children Smoking Substance abuse Psychological health Health related quality of life 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The study was funded by Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), Germany. We wish to thank Dr. R. Hanewinkel, IFT-Nord, Kiel, Prof. Dr. Wegscheider, University of Hamburg, and especially R. Burow, IQSH, Kronshagen, for methodological support, as well as all teachers and pupils involved in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Menrath
    • 1
  • E. Mueller-Godeffroy
    • 1
  • C. Pruessmann
    • 1
  • U. Ravens-Sieberer
    • 2
  • V. Ottova
    • 2
  • M. Pruessmann
    • 1
  • M. Erhart
    • 2
  • D. Hillebrandt
    • 2
  • Ute Thyen
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PaediatricsUniversity of LübeckLübeckGermany
  2. 2.Department of Psychosomatics in Children and AdolescentsUniversity Clinic Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Universität zu Lübeck, Klinik für Kinder- und JugendmedizinUniversitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Campus LübeckLübeckGermany

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