Academic journal article American Journal of Health Education

The Development of an Instrument to Assess Advocacy Intentions for School Health Education

Academic journal article American Journal of Health Education

The Development of an Instrument to Assess Advocacy Intentions for School Health Education

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Background: An overlooked group for school health education advocacy training is college students enrolled in personal health courses. They will be investors and stakeholders in the quality of public education, and the health and academic success of students. Purpose: In this article we present the process used to develop a theory-based instrument that can help to assess changes in intentions to advocate for school health education after exposure to an advocacy training intervention conducted with college students enrolled in personal health courses. The instrument constructs were developed based on Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). Methods: Researchers used a comprehensive instrument design framework, involving the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing and four stages of pretesting to develop and test the instrument items. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to test the relationship among ordinal items in the Likert-type instrument and the constructs in TPB, which the items were developed to measure. Results: Fit indices for the structural model indicated that the proposed model provided a satisfactory fit for the data. Therefore, the final instrument consists of 53 items, measuring intentions of students to engage in school health education advocacy, as a result of implementing an advocacy-training lesson. Discussion: This study resulted in an instrument to measure the effectiveness of an advocacy-training lesson for college students that produces valid and reliable scores. Translation to Health Education Practice: The instrument development processes can be replicated by practitioners when creating surveys to administer in their respective populations.

This paper was submitted to the Journal on January 6, 2011, revised and accepted for publication on July 1, 2011.

BACKGROUND

School health educators have been encouraged to "sell" health education to community members, and to develop "health champions" in local school districts to advocate for school health education. (1,2) To meet the requisite responsibility to advocate for school health education, strategies for advocacy-related training have been developed to prepare school health education undergraduate and graduate students. (3-6) In addition to school health educators, community members, elementary and secondary students, physicians, school board members and parents have been identified as potential advocates for school health education. (2,7-9)

Birch, Wallen, and Chaney (7) propose another important group for school health education advocacy training that has previously been overlooked--college students enrolled in personal health courses. Whereas no data exist, it can be safely speculated that thousands of students across the United States are enrolled in these courses each academic year. All of them will soon be members of local communities (with local school districts), and some will become parents. They will be investors and stakeholders in the quality of public education, and the health and academic success of students. We believe that this group is a conveniently, untapped source for providing school health education advocacy training.

PURPOSE

This paper presents the process used to develop a theory-based instrument that can be used to assess changes in intentions to advocate for school health education after exposure to an advocacy-training intervention.

METHODS

The instrument development process used in this study was theory-driven, and based on prior research assessing intentions to advocate for health and health education. Whereas McCrary-Quarles and colleagues (10) have developed an instrument for assessing intent to advocate after exposure to advocacy training, their instrument was developed for evaluating training that targeted health educators with a primary focus on state-level advocacy. Content and face validity were confirmed by only two individuals. …

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