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Journal Article


Wexler L, Poudel-Tandukar K, Rataj S, Trout L, Poudel KC, Woods M, Chachamovich E. School Ment. Health 2017; 9(2): 172-183.


(Copyright © 2017, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group)






Youth Leaders Program (YLP) is a health intervention implemented in a rural Alaskan school district, which utilizes natural helpers and peer leaders to increase protective factors such as school engagement and personal/cultural identities, and to reduce risks associated with drug/alcohol abuse, violence, and bullying. Through these means, the program aims to ultimately decrease the disproportionately high rates of indigenous youth suicide in the region. This paper describes process and outcome evaluation findings from the program during the 2013-2014 school year. Data collected include a survey for program participants done at the beginning and end of the study year (n = 61, complete pairs); pre- and post-intervention school data (attendance, GPA, and disciplinary actions) (n = 86); an all-school survey asking students at the participating schools about their experience with YLP and participating youth (n = 764); interviews with program advisors (n = 11) and school principals (n = 2); and focus groups with participating students at all eleven participating schools at the end of the year. Outcomes included increased school attendance (mean attendance increased from 146 to 155 days) and improved academic performance (mean GPA of 8th, 9th, and 10th graders increased from 3.01 to 3.14) of program participants; positive peer reviews of participating student interventions in cases of bullying, depression, and suicidality; and a reported increase in the sense of agency, responsibility, and confidence among participating youth. The YLP appears to improve school climate and increase school and other protective factors for participating students. Recommendations for program implementation in the future and implications for school health will be discussed.

Language: en


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