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Road safety and injury prevention programs in the high school curriculum: Key considerations with examples from the SPIY Program.

Buckley, L, Sheehan, M

General

ACRS conference 2007

Many adolescents partake in transport-related risk-taking that leads to injury. A curriculum based program that decreased adolescent risk-taking behaviours might enable a reduction in the burden of injury. The development of such a program requires careful consideration of a number of factors to ensure a higher likelihood of program effectiveness. The aim of this paper is to identify many of the factors that have been previously demonstrated in the research literature to underlie effective programs. This literature tends to be primarily based on alcohol and drug prevention goals. Key concepts in the design of such programs along with examples from the design of the Skills for Preventing Injury in Youth (SPIY) program are presented. Specifically the concepts include; the selection of target behaviours and participants for change, processes and content which are socio-culturally and developmentally appropriate, approaches facilitated by teachers and developed using established theories as well as consideration of program duration and evaluation. The transport-related risk-taking behaviours that give rise to adolescent injury are potentially amenable to intervention. An understanding of how high schools might be involved in such interventions provides valuable information regarding the prevention and harm minimisation of injury. Conclusions of this paper will be drawn with regard to methods and processes for behaviour change and the challenges faced in implementing such strategies with the SPIY program. Future research and policy implications will also be discussed.