The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effects of the Dutch “Skills for Life” programme on students’ health behaviours, bullying behaviour and suicidal ideation.
The effectiveness of the “Skills for Life” programme on health behaviour outcomes was evaluated at three points in time in using a cluster randomized controlled study design with a follow-up of 20 months. In total, 27 schools and 1,394 students were included.
The programme was judged to be well implemented in just under half of cases. The outcome results for the experimental group (EG) compared with controls present a complex picture at the three different time points used for evaluation. There was a clearly positive effect on levels of alcohol consumption and a clearly negative effect on smoking across time. There was a mixed picture over time for suicide ideation and for bullying including sexual bullying (although the prevalence rates for bullying were low and thus results should be treated with caution). There were generally more positive impacts on students with lower educational levels including less suicidal ideation and less bullying.
Limitations were the dropping out of several schools during the study and the low level of fidelity of the curriculum. Social emotional learning (SEL) programs can be part of a health promoting school framework but should be more tailored to disadvantaged school populations.
The findings indicate that students with a less optimal starting position, when it comes to health related behaviours, benefit most from a SEL programme. This indicates that schools with disadvantaged school populations could benefit most from a Health Promoting School approach.
This study was funded by ZonMw, grant no. 62300045, and by the Haagse Hogeschool (HHS) and TNO.
Fekkes, M., van de Sande, M.C.E., Gravesteijn, J.C., Pannebakker, F.D., Buijs, G.J., Diekstra, R.F.W. and Kocken, P.L. (2016), "Effects of the Dutch Skills for Life program on the health behavior, bullying, and suicidal ideation of secondary school students", Health Education, Vol. 116 No. 1, pp. 2-15. https://doi.org/10.1108/HE-05-2014-0068Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited