How can interventions integrating health and academic education in schools help prevent substance misuse and violence, and reduce health inequalities among young people? Systematic review and evidence synthesis

Tancred T, Melendez-Torres G, Paparini S, Fletcher A, Stansfield C, Thomas J, Campbell R, Taylor S, Bonell C
Record ID 32016000036
Authors' objectives: School personal, social and health education (PSHE) lessons provide students with knowledge and skills to promote their own health and aim to change how they think about health. Research suggests these can be effective in reducing young people s drinking, smoking, drug use and violence. But busy schools have less and less space in their timetables for PSHE, and this is likely to remain the case especially given the government has recently rejected advice that PSHE should become a statutory subject. Schools are beginning to address health in other lessons but this is likely to require quite different approaches and so far initiatives in the UK have not been based on evidence of what works. The UK can learn from evaluations of successful interventions delivered in other countries. Systematic reviews are the best way of summarising the results of existing research on what works. But no-one has systematically reviewed the evidence on health lessons delivered in mainstream school subjects. We will carry out such a review focusing on alcohol, smoking, drugs and violence because these are important threats to health. We will find and summarise the best evaluations of curriculum interventions that have been delivered within mainstream subject lessons in schools which address these topics. We will search for studies on the internet and in other ways. We will check the studies we find to see if they address our questions and whether they are good quality before we include them in our review. We will describe the different types of interventions that have been evaluated. We will assess what characteristics of interventions, the people who deliver and receive them, and the schools in which they are delivered help or hinder successful delivery. We will use this to consider which interventions are likely to be most feasible in the UK. We will combine the results of separate studies to produce overall estimates of the effectiveness of such interventions in reducing alcohol consumption, smoking, drug use and violence (and increasing educational attainment). We will also look to see whether some students benefit more than others. We will analyse the characteristics of interventions, the people who deliver and receive them, and the schools in which they are delivered, to see if these interventions are effective. We ll present our emerging findings at two time points to people who know about education in the UK (students, teachers, policy-makers) and ask them which of the interventions we have found might be possible to deliver in UK schools. We will then look at this specific group of interventions to see if they are effective. We will also ask our education experts how we might best communicate our findings to different groups of people so they make a difference in the real world.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2019
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England
MeSH Terms
  • Adolescent
  • Schools
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Violence
  • Substance Abuse Detection
  • Adolescent Health Services
  • Opioid-Related Disorders
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Substance-Related Disorders
Organisation Name: NIHR Public Health Research programme
Contact Address: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
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Copyright: Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
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