207317 Effects of Service Learning on Teen Seatbelt Usage

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 1:15 PM

Paul Juarez, PhD , Department of Family & Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN
Irwin Goldzweig, MS , Department of Family & Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN
Dawn McLin, PhD , Department of Psychology, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Richard Bradley, PhD , Consultant, Worthington, OH
David Schlundt, PhD , Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Courtney Brookins , Department of Psychology, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Vicente Samaniego, MPH , Department of Family & Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN
The primary aim of this research project was to increase seatbelt usage among teens between 15 and 19 years of age in Jackson, Mississippi. A primary objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a peer-to-peer, service learning intervention conducted by youth who attend the Jackson Public Schools, Mississippi. We hypothesized that teens who participated in a service learning project that was structured around the importance of seat belt usage would result in increased knowledge, attitudes, and rates of seat belt usage as measured through pre/post surveys, community, and school parking lot observations. A quasi-experimental design and methodology was used to monitor changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of seat belt use. The school based, service learning intervention was implemented in four of the 8 public high schools in Jackson MS. Schools were randomly selected in the first year and alternated in subsequent years. Classroom instructors at each high school were identified in conjunction with the principal and trained to incorporate the principles of service learning into the course curriculum for one or more of their classes in either the fall or spring semester. Self reports of seat belt knowledge, awareness, and use and community and school parking lot observations were used to measure the effectiveness of the intervention. A mixed linear model combining process and outcome data revealed that the amount and timing of structured, classroom, service learning intervention was directly related to an increase in seat belt use by teens.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to: 1. Define service learning 2. Differentiate service learning from community service 3. Explain the theoretical basis for why service learning can be more effective than other interventions to increase youth seat belt use. 4. Identify two ways for measuring the effectiveness of service learning on teen seat belt use.

Keywords: Motor Vehicles, Service Learning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Juarez has been engaged in injury prevention for over 25 years and is PI of the Jackson Teen Seat Belt Study, for which results are described in this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.