An analysis of the motivational impact of a computerized lifestyle improvement instrument in conjunction with public school health education
Mulligan, Christine A.
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The resurgence of concern and interest in health education has led to a greater investment of educational resources for our youth into comprehensive school health education programs. The purpose of this study was to investigate the motivational impact of one such health education course, with and without an accompanying computer assisted Lifestyle Improvement Inventory (LII), on students in a public junior high school. This study was a controlled-comparison, quasiexperimental design. A total of 98 eighth grade students was divided into three groups: the LII group had an appraisal plus the course Health II - Issues for Teens; the no-LII group had only the course; and a comparison group constructed from a concurrent Horne Economics class. The three groups were tested at the start and at the conclusion of the one quarter course offerings. The questionnaire measured students' health locus of control (HLC), knowledge of causes of death, knowledge of risk behaviors, and aggregate perceived self-efficacy. Analysis of covariance was employed to determine statistically significant differences among the three groups. Regression analyses confirmed that the findings in the study could not be predicted based upon knowing either the student's gender or general level of ability, or which instructor taught the course. Students in both the LII and the no-LII experimental groups were found to have significant positive changes in HLC and knowledge of causes of death scores versus the comparison group, though not between the two experimental groups. No significant differences among the groups were found for measures of knowledge of risk behaviors and of aggregate perceived self-efficacy. The overall conclusion of the study was that the course Health II - Issues for Teens did produce positive changes in student HLC and in knowledge of causes of death in the United States, but not in knowledge of risk behaviors or perceived self-efficacy to avoid or control such behaviors. The curriculum was fundamentally inadequate as a vehicle to motivate behavioral change. The addition of a computer assisted LII to the course made no further significant changes in these findings.
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