How effective is the health-promoting school approach in building social capital in primary schools?
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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to describe a study which investigated the relationship between the 'health promoting school' (HPS) approach and social capital; and tested the proposition that the implementation of a HPS intervention leads to a significant improvement in HPS features and social capital. Design/methodology/approach - A prospective intervention study design was used and involved the comparison of an intervention population group and a comparison population group matched for school size, urban location, school type and socio-economic status. The intervention group used the holistic HPS approach to promote resilience, whereas the comparison group did not use the HPS approach. In the intervention schools, 262 staff in the pre-intervention phase, and 288 staff in the post-intervention phase responded to the survey. In the control schools, 156 staff in the pre-intervention phase, and 261 in the post-intervention phase responded. The HPS Scale derived from the Ottawa Charter and the Social Capital Scale derived from the Social Capital Index were used at the school community level. Findings - There was a statistically significant relationship between HPS indicators and social capital. Our evidence indicates that a HPS approach to build social capital is effective. Practical implications - The results indicate that social capital embedded in the HPS structure has the capacity to substantially affect relationships that people have with each other and school psychosocial environment. Originality/value - This paper provides health educators with resource strategies to promote social capital within the HPS program framework. Keywords: health promoting school, social capital, school environment Paper type: Research paper
© 2007 Emerald. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.