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From complex interventions to complex systems: using social network analysis to understand school engagement with health and wellbeing

Littlecott, Hannah J., Moore, Graham F. ORCID:, Gallagher, Hugh Colin and Murphy, Simon ORCID: 2019. From complex interventions to complex systems: using social network analysis to understand school engagement with health and wellbeing. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16 (10) , 1694. 10.3390/ijerph16101694

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Challenges in changing school system functioning to orient them towards health are commonly underestimated. Understanding the social interactions of school staff from a complex systems perspective may provide valuable insight into how system dynamics may impede or facilitate the promotion of health and wellbeing. Ego social network analysis was employed with wellbeing leads within four diverse case study schools to identify variability in embeddedness of health and wellbeing roles. This variation, as well as the broader context, was then explored through semi-structured qualitative interviews with school staff and a Healthy Schools Coordinator, sampled from the wellbeing leads’ ego-networks. Networks varied in terms of perceived importance and frequency of interactions, centrality, brokerage and cliques. Case study schools that showed higher engagement with health and wellbeing had highly organised, distributed leadership structures, dedicated wellbeing roles, senior leadership support and outside agencies embedded within school systems. Allocation of responsibility for wellbeing to a member of the senior leadership team alongside a distributed leadership approach may facilitate the reorientation of school systems towards health and wellbeing. Ego-network analysis to understand variance in complex school system starting points could be replicated on a larger scale and utilised to design complex interventions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Business (Including Economics)
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 1661-7827
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 May 2019
Date of Acceptance: 9 May 2019
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2023 16:24

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