Background Alcohol consumption among youth is a major public health problem due to its association with negative outcomes which are generally preventable. Schools can play an important role in increasing health knowledge and promoting healthy behaviours that can reduce alcohol-associated risks. This paper describes and evaluates an innovative experiential project that aims to augment existing alcohol high school educational programmes.
Methods Students of 11th grade classes, age 16–17 years, participated in a one-school-day programme which included: a lecture on alcohol related risks; an enacted scenario of violent behaviour related to alcohol use; meeting with a disabled person injured in an alcohol-associated road accident, and discussion of two video movies regarding consequences of excessive alcohol drinking. The students filled a preintervention alcohol-related knowledge, attitude and practice questionnaire, a feedback questionnaire at the end of the one-day programme, and a 3-months postintervention questionnaire on their alcohol-related behaviours.
Results 665 eleventh grade students participated in the project. The preintervention questionnaire revealed adequate knowledge on alcohol-related risks by 65% of the students. The feedback questionnaire revealed that most students felt that the programme added to their knowledge and that it might change their alcohol use behaviour. The postintervention questionnaire filled by 195 students revealed that 81% would not refrain from alcohol drinking following the project; however 47% reported consuming alcohol in moderation, and 24% specified decrease in the amount of alcoholic beverages.
Conclusions An experiential educational programme regarding negative outcomes of alcohol consumption resulted in reported alcohol-related behaviour change in a proportion of high school students.
- alcohol use
- educational programme