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Program Profile: Teenage Health Teaching Modules

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on February 12, 2014

Program Summary

A comprehensive school health curriculum for grades 6 to 12 that addresses various health issues. The program is rated Promising. Participants showed a statistically significant increase in health knowledge compared to the control class. Student attitudes remained stable from pretest to posttest compared to a deterioration in attitudes in the control group. Program exposure resulted in high school students using less alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.

Program Description

Program Goals and Target Population
Teenage Health Teaching Modules (THTM) is a comprehensive school health curriculum for grades 6 to 12. By addressing various health issues, the curriculum aims to positively affect student health knowledge, attitudes, practices, and behaviors. Program modules are designed to improve self-assessment, communication, decision making, health advocacy, and healthy self-management skills.

Program Components
THTM focuses on three primary components:
  1. Health tasks of adolescence. Modules are designed to incorporate developmentally relevant health tasks. For instance, the “Having Friends” module includes information on building positive relationships; “Living with Feelings” teaches youth to recognize and manage feelings in positive ways; and “Protecting Oneself and Others” focuses on the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.
  2. Health content areas such as personal health; disease prevention and control; nutrition; alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use; injury and violence prevention; mental and emotional health; consumer health; healthy relationships; community and environmental health; and family life.
  3. Essential health skills and themes. Examples of health skills addressed in THTM are risk assessment, self-assessment, communication, decision making, goal setting, health advocacy, and healthy self-management. THTM also reinforces themes of protection, responsibility, interdependence, and respect throughout the curriculum.
Materials are organized by developmentally based health tasks of concern to adolescents, rather than by content area. THTM is composed of a series of modules, each consisting of a teacher’s guide with a detailed framework for conducting classroom activities and handouts for student use. Teachers are encouraged to add their own supplementary activities, materials, and ideas.

Program modules can be introduced in any sequence, and teachers can decide how many of the 16 modules to use. Moreover, the program does not require prior training of teachers, although training can increase the size of positive effects.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Student Knowledge
Errecart et al. (1991) found that participants in Teenage Health Teaching Modules (THTM) classes showed a statistically significant increase in health knowledge compared to control class participants. Effect size was larger for junior high/middle school students than for senior high school students (d=0.99 and 0.75, respectively).

Student Attitudes
Attitudes for students in the THTM classes remained stable from pretest to posttest, compared to a deterioration in attitudes in control group participants.

Student Practices
Exposure to THTM also resulted in several important self-reported behavioral changes. For example, students in senior high experimental and naturalistic schools reported a reduction in drug use and cigarette smoking. Self-reported levels of alcohol consumption also were reduced among senior high school students in naturalistic schools. THTM had no discernible effects on the self-reported behaviors of junior high/middle school students.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
The results reported in Errecart et al. (1991) are based on an evaluation that employed a quasi-experimental pretest–posttest control group design to assess Teenage Health Teaching Modules’ (THTM’s) effectiveness. Schools in Maryland, Vermont, and San Diego County, Calif., were invited to participate in the experimental study; 111 schools participated (61 junior high/middle schools and 50 senior high schools). Schools in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, and Michigan participated in the natural experiment. Of the invited schools, 87 agreed to participate (37 junior high/middle schools and 50 senior high schools).

Two settings were used. In the experimental setting, rigorous control was exercised over exposure to teacher training and choice of curriculum materials (modules) used. The naturalistic setting involved users who had made the independent decision to adopt THTM before the study, and there was less rigorous control of the teacher training and choice of curriculum materials.

Classes were selected differently for the two types of schools. In experimental schools, school administrators selected one academic subject area to receive THTM; one class section was then randomly selected as the treatment group from all class sections at the designated grade level. A second academic subject was selected as an appropriate control, with one class section randomly selected as the control group from available class sections. Control sections were required to contain limited or no health content. In naturalistic settings, where THTM was already in place, one THTM group was selected randomly from among sections scheduled to receive the selected THTM modules during the observation period. One naturalistic control group was selected randomly from a different academic subject. Again, control sections contained little or no health content. This method resulted in a total of 198 THTM classrooms and 198 control classrooms. Forty-nine classrooms did not complete the study; attrition was approximately equivalent between the experimental and naturalistic settings.

An attempt was made to select THTM and control classrooms at the same grade level from different academic subjects with mutually exclusive enrollments. In practice, two conditions made such selection difficult: 1) when small schools had only one class section at a grade level and 2) when larger schools elected to require THTM of all students at the grade level. Under both conditions, the control group was selected randomly at the next higher grade level.

The evaluation study used five data collection instruments. One instrument was administered to students, and teachers completed the other four instruments. Investigators conducted the evaluation in 149 junior high/middle schools and senior high schools in seven states. The final sample included 4,806 students with matched pretest and posttest questionnaires (2,530 who received THTM and 2,276 controls). The student sample comprised 54.3 percent male, 74.4 percent white, 11.5 percent Hispanic, 9.8 percent black, 2.7 percent Asian, 1.2 percent Native American, and 0.4 percent undetermined.
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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Errecart, Michael T., Herbert J. Walberg, James G. Ross, Robert S. Gold, John L. Fiedler, and Lloyd J. Kolbe. 1991. “Effectiveness of Teenage Health Teaching Modules.” Journal of School Health 61(1):26–30.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Gold, Robert S., Guy S. Parcel, Herbert J. Walberg, Russell V. Luepker, Barry Portnoy, and Elaine J. Stone. 1991. “Summary and Conclusions of the THTM Evaluation: The Expert Work Group Perspective.” Journal of School Health 61(1):39–42.

Nelson, Gary D., S. Cross Floy, and Lloyd J. Kolbe. 1991. “Teenage Health Teaching Modules Evaluation.” Journal of School Health 61(1):19.

Parcel, Guy S., James G. Ross, Alison T. Lavin, Barry Portnoy, Gary D. Nelson, and Franklin Winters. 1991. “Enhancing Implementation of the Teenage Health Teaching Modules.” Journal of School Health 61(1):35–38.

Ross, James G., Russell V. Luepker, Gary D. Nelson, Pedro Saavedra, and Betty M. Hubbard. 1991. “Teenage Health Teaching Modules: Impact of Teacher Training on Implementation and Student Outcomes.” Journal of School Health 61(1):31–34.
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Program Snapshot

Age: 11 - 18

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, American Indians/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White, Other

Setting (Delivery): School

Program Type: Classroom Curricula, Conflict Resolution/Interpersonal Skills, Leadership and Youth Development, School/Classroom Environment, Alcohol and Drug Prevention

Current Program Status: Not Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide