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Effects of health education on adolescents' non-cognitive skills, life satisfaction and aspirations, and health-related quality of life: A cluster-randomized controlled trial in Vietnam

 Sangchul Yoon  ;  Shinki An  ;  Dave Haeyun Noh  ;  Le Thanh Tuan  ;  Jongwook Lee 
 PLOS ONE, Vol.16(12) : e0259000, 2021-12 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Adolescent ; Child ; Female ; Follow-Up Studies ; Health Promotion* ; Humans ; Male ; Personal Satisfaction* ; Quality of Life* ; School Health Services* ; Vietnam
Objective: The effectiveness of health education on adolescents has been questioned, along with a growing body of empirical studies documenting the absence of behavioral changes after the intervention. However, evidence on its impact on other crucial health domains, besides health practices, is lacking. We evaluated the causal effects of a school-based health education program on adolescents' multidimensional psychological health factors.

Design: A cluster-randomized controlled trial.

Methods: We conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial involving 140 lower secondary schools in Vietnam. After stratifying by district, schools were randomized 1:1 to either treatment or control groups. Students enrolled in the treatment schools received monthly stand-alone health education in five topics by school teachers at the class level, but control group students did not receive any intervention. The primary outcomes of the study were students' non-cognitive skills, life satisfaction, aspirations gap, and the Health-Related Quality of Life at five-month follow-up. We estimated the intention-to-treat effects with the panel fixed effects model using student panel data.

Results: Of the 6,477 students enrolled at baseline, 2,958 (92%) treated and 2,967 (91%) control students completed the follow-up survey five months after baseline data collection from October to December 2018. Compared with controls, health education led to improved treatment school students' self-efficacy (p-value = 0.013), presumed life satisfaction five years from the present (p-value = 0.001), aspirations gap for a socially and mentally healthy future (p-value = 0.036), and the Health-Related Quality of Life (p-value = 0.036).

Conclusion: A school-based health education program enhanced students' non-cognitive skills, life satisfaction and aspirations gap, and the Health-Related Quality of Life significantly. This study proposes essential psychological factors that should be taken into account when evaluating the effectiveness of a health education program in resource-limited settings.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Medical Education (의학교육학과) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Ahn, Shin Ki(안신기) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9822-7961
Yoon, Sang Chul(윤상철) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0454-9597
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