The effects of health education on student health-related behaviors

Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor's Name

Kingsley Banya

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Abbas Tashakkori

Third Advisor's Name

Janice Sandiford

Fourth Advisor's Name

Dominic Mohamed

Date of Defense



During their transitional period from childhood to adulthood, adolescents engage in risk-taking behaviors that become public health concerns. It is important for school health education professionals to design instructional programs that focus on adolescents' developmental needs and foster healthier lifestyles. The goal of health education is to help students acquire health skills that are necessary to succeed in school and in life. This is especially important because the increase in teenagers' risky behaviors can affect their health, well being, and eventually the course of their lives.

This study examined the effects of health education on health-related behaviors of public high school students. A multivariate analysis of variance was conducted to determine whether the comprehensive approach based on The Jessors' Problem Behavior Theory (PBT) had a greater impact on adolescents' risk-taking behaviors than the traditional approach. After 18 weeks of health instruction using one of these approaches, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) was administered to measure the level of subjects' self-reported behaviors in six categories of adolescent risky behaviors: the use of tobacco; the use of alcohol and other drugs; engagement in injurious activities; consumption of unhealthy diet; inadequate level of participation in physical activities; and engagement in risky sexual activities.

The results of this study did not support the hypothesis that using the comprehensive health education approach was more influential than the traditional health education approach in improving students' health- risk behaviors. Further research studies based on bio-psychosocial theories are needed to develop and evaluate methods of instruction and delivery of health skills.



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