The development of knowledge for health promotion requires an effective mechanism for collaboration between academics, practitioners, and policymakers. The challenge is better to understand the dynamic and ever-changing context of the researcher-practitioner-policymaker-community relationship.
The aims were to explore the factors that foster Academic Practice Policy (APP) partnerships, and to systematically and transparently to review three cases.
Three partnerships were included: Power and Commitment-Alcohol and Drug Prevention by Non-Governmental Organizations in Sweden; Healthy City-Social Inclusion, Urban Governance, and Sustainable Welfare Development; and Empowering Families with Teenagers-Ideals and Reality in Karlskoga and Degerfors. The analysis includes searching for evidence for three hypotheses concerning contextual factors in multi-stakeholder collaboration, and the cumulative effects of partnership synergy.
APP partnerships emerge during different phases of research and development. Contextual factors are important; researchers need to be trusted by practitioners and politicians. During planning, it is important to involve the relevant partners. During the implementation phase, time is important. During data collection and capacity building, it is important to have shared objectives for and dialogues about research. Finally, dissemination needs to be integrated into any partnership. The links between process and outcomes in participatory research (PR) can be described by the theory of partnership synergy, which includes consideration of how PR can ensure culturally and logistically appropriate research, enhance recruitment capacity, and generate professional capacity and competence in stakeholder groups. Moreover, there are PR synergies over time.
The fundamentals of a genuine partnership are communication, collaboration, shared visions, and willingness of all stakeholders to learn from one another.
The present study is an evaluation of a 3-year parental program aiming to prevent underage drinking. The intervention was implemented by a non-governmental organization and targeted parents with children aged 13-16 years old and included recurrent activities during the entire period of secondary school. The program consisted of four different types of group and self-administered activities: parent meetings, family dialogues, friend meetings, and family meetings.
A quasi-experimental design was used following parents and children with questionnaires during the three years of secondary school. The analytic sample consisted of 509 dyads of parents and children. Measures of parental attitudes and behaviour concerning underage drinking and adolescents' lifetime alcohol consumption and drunkenness were used. Three socio-demographic factors were included: parental education, school, and gender of the child. A Latent Growth Modelling (LGM) approach was used to examine changes in parental behaviour regarding youth drinking and in young people's drinking behaviour. To test for the pre-post test differences in parental attitudes repeated measures ANOVA were used.
The results showed that parents in the program maintained their restrictive attitude toward underage drinking to a higher degree than non-participating parents. Adolescents of participants were on average one year older than adolescents with non-participating parents when they made their alcohol debut. They were also less likely to have ever been drunk in school year 9.
The results of the study suggested that Strong and Clear contributed to maintaining parents' restrictive attitude toward underage drinking during secondary school, postponing alcohol debut among the adolescents, and significantly reducing their drunkenness.
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Mental health problems among young women aged 16-24 have increased significantly in recent decades, and interventions are called for. Mentoring is a well-established preventative/promotive intervention for developing adolescents, but we have yet to fully understand how the relationship between the mentor and the protégé forms, develops, and closes. In this study, we focused on a female mentoring program implemented by a Swedish non-governmental organization, The Girls Zone. First, we examined the psychological and social characteristics of the young women who chose to take part in the program as protégés. Second, we investigated adolescent female protégés' own experiences of the relationship process based on a relational-cultural theory perspective.
The mixed-method study included 52 questionnaires and five semi-structured interviews with young women aged 15-26 who had contacted The Girls Zone between 2010 and 2012 in order to find a mentor. Their experience of the mentoring relationships varied in duration. Data were analysed statistically and with inductive qualitative content analysis.
The group of protégés was heterogeneous in that some had poor mental health and some had good mental health. On the other hand, the group was homogenous in that all its members had shown pro-active self-care by actively seeking out the program due to experiences of loneliness and a need to meet and talk with a person who could listen to them. The relationships were initially characterized by feelings of nervousness and ambivalence. However, after some time, these developed into authentic, undemanding, non-hierarchical relationships on the protégés' terms. The closure of relationships aroused feelings of both abandonment and developing strength.
Mentorships that are in line with perspectives of the relational-cultural theory meet the relationship needs expressed by the female protégés. Mentor training should focus on promoting skills such as active listening and respect for the protégé based on an engaged, empathic, and authentic approach in a non-hierarchical relationship. These insights have the potential to inform interventions in several arenas where young women create authentic relationships with older persons, such as in school, in traditional health care contexts, and in youth recreation centres.
Alcohol consumption among adolescents is a serious public health concern. Research has shown that prevention programs targeting parents can help prevent underage drinking. The problem is that parental participation in these kinds of interventions is generally low. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to examine non-participation in a parental support program aiming to prevent underage alcohol drinking. The Health Belief Model has been used as a tool for the analysis.
To understand non-participation in a parental program a quasi-experimental mixed-method design was used. The participants in the study were invited to participate in a parental program targeting parents with children in school years 7-9. A questionnaire was sent home to the parents before the program started. Two follow-up surveys were also carried out. The inclusion criteria for the study were that the parents had answered the questionnaire in school year 7 and either of the questionnaires in the two subsequent school years (n = 455). Multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to examine reasons for non-participation. The final follow-up questionnaire included an opened-ended question about reasons for non-participation. A qualitative content analysis was carried out and the two largest categories were included in the third model of the multinomial logistic regression analysis.
Educational level was the most important socio-demographic factor for predicting non-participation. Parents with a lower level of education were less likely to participate than those who were more educated. Factors associated with adolescents and alcohol did not seem to be of significant importance. Instead, program-related factors predicted non-participation, e.g. parents who did not perceive any need for the intervention and who did not attend the information meeting were more likely to be non-participants. Practical issues, like time demands, also seemed to be important.
To design a parental program that attracts parents independently of educational level seems to be an important challenge for the future as well as program marketing. This is something that must be considered when implementing prevention programs.
Alcohol and drug prevention is high on the public health agenda in many countries. An increasing trend is the call for evidence-based practice. In Sweden in 2002 an innovative project portfolio including an integrated research and competence-building strategy for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) was designed by the National Board of Health and Welfare (NBHW). This research strategy case study is based on this initiative.
The embedded case study includes 135 projects in 69 organisations and 14 in-depth process or effect studies. The data in the case study has been compiled using multiple methods - administrative data; interviews and questionnaires to project leaders; focus group discussions and seminars; direct and participatory observations, interviews, and documentation of implementation; consultations with the NBHW and the NGOs; and a literature review. Annual reports have been submitted each year and three bi-national conferences Reflections on preventions have been held.
A broad range of organisations have been included in the NBHW project portfolio. A minority of the project were run by Alcohol or drug organisations, while a majority has children or adolescents as target groups. In order to develop a trustful partnership between practitioners, national agencies and researchers a series of measures were developed and implemented: meeting with project leaders, project dialogues and consultations, competence strengthening, support to documentation, in-depth studies and national conferences. A common element was that the projects were program-driven and not research-driven interventions. The role of researchers-as-technical advisors was suitable for the fostering of a trustful partnership for research and development. The independence of the NGOs was regarded as important for the momentum in the project implementation. The research strategy also includes elements of participatory research.
This research strategy case study shows that it is possible to integrate research into alcohol and drug prevention programs run by NGOs, and thereby contribute to a more evidence-based practice. A core element is developing a trustful partnership between the researchers and the organisations. Moreover, the funding agency must acknowledge the importance of knowledge development and allocating resources to research groups that is capable of cooperating with practitioners and NGOs.
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