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Identifying and using influential young people for informal peer-led health promotion.

Holliday, Jo. 2006. Identifying and using influential young people for informal peer-led health promotion. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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This thesis uses the ASSIST intervention (a school-based, peer-led smoking intervention) to explore issues relating to the successful diffusion of a health promotion message through informal contacts. Social network data and process evaluation data gathered during the evaluation of the intervention are used to examine whether opinion leaders (peer supporters) identified through a 'whole-community' approach to peer nomination were appropriate to disseminate a smoke-free message to their peers and whether this social diffusion approach is acceptable to young people. More specifically, the aims are to i) investigate whether the peer supporters were appropriate in terms of their position in social space, ii) ascertain whether their peers perceived them as suitable to adopt the role, and iii) examine issues relating the acceptability of the ASSIST approach. The peer nomination process identified peer supporters who were largely appropriate to undertake the peer supporter role. They were significantly more influential in terms of their social position than other students in their year. They were also contained in a range of social groups and the majority of students knew at least one peer supporter. Peer supporters were representative of the rest of the year group but were more likely to be smokers than other students. Respondents considered the majority suitable to carry out the role although more positive appraisals were received from peer supporters. The ASSIST approach was in general viewed positively by the students involved. Respondents reported being happier talking with their peers than adults about smoking. Peer supporters had conversations about smoking. However, these conversations tended to be with non-smoking friends and peer supporters. The majority of respondents were positive about peer supporters talking to other Year 8 students about smoking although more encouraging appraisals were received from peer supporters and non-smokers. The findings will provide valuable learning which may be utilised to maximise the effectiveness of future applications of this novel approach both in the field of smoking prevention and elsewhere.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
ISBN: 9781303174711
Funders: Medical Research Council: grant number G9900538, Bro Taf, Morgannwg and Gwent Health Authorities
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 05:52

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