Program Goals and Target Population
Teenage Health Teaching Modules (THTM) is a comprehensive school health curriculum for grades 6 to 12. By addressing various health issues, the curriculum aims to positively affect student health knowledge, attitudes, practices, and behaviors. Program modules are designed to improve self-assessment, communication, decision making, health advocacy, and healthy self-management skills.
THTM focuses on three primary components:
- Health tasks of adolescence. Modules are designed to incorporate developmentally relevant health tasks. For instance, the “Having Friends” module includes information on building positive relationships; “Living with Feelings” teaches youth to recognize and manage feelings in positive ways; and “Protecting Oneself and Others” focuses on the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.
- Health content areas such as personal health; disease prevention and control; nutrition; alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use; injury and violence prevention; mental and emotional health; consumer health; healthy relationships; community and environmental health; and family life.
- Essential health skills and themes. Examples of health skills addressed in THTM are risk assessment, self-assessment, communication, decision making, goal setting, health advocacy, and healthy self-management. THTM also reinforces themes of protection, responsibility, interdependence, and respect throughout the curriculum.
Materials are organized by developmentally based health tasks of concern to adolescents, rather than by content area. THTM is composed of a series of modules, each consisting of a teacher’s guide with a detailed framework for conducting classroom activities and handouts for student use. Teachers are encouraged to add their own supplementary activities, materials, and ideas.
Program modules can be introduced in any sequence, and teachers can decide how many of the 16 modules to use. Moreover, the program does not require prior training of teachers, although training can increase the size of positive effects.
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Errecart et al. (1991) found that participants in Teenage Health Teaching Modules (THTM) classes showed a statistically significant increase in health knowledge compared to control class participants. Effect size was larger for junior high/middle school students than for senior high school students (d=0.99 and 0.75, respectively).
Attitudes for students in the THTM classes remained stable from pretest to posttest, compared to a deterioration in attitudes in control group participants.
Exposure to THTM also resulted in several important self-reported behavioral changes. For example, students in senior high experimental and naturalistic schools reported a reduction in drug use and cigarette smoking. Self-reported levels of alcohol consumption also were reduced among senior high school students in naturalistic schools. THTM had no discernible effects on the self-reported behaviors of junior high/middle school students.
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