Health knowledge levels, behaviors, and perceived needs of 1992 North Texas high school graduates




Dickens, Leigh

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This descriptive study was conducted using 1992 graduates of three north Texas school districts. A researcher designed instrument, the Life Skills Effectiveness Survey, was completed by 168 graduates. Differences between health knowledge, behaviors, and perceived needs among graduates were examined in relationship to school district size attended, gender, and ethnicity. Additionally, an attempt was made to determine if the health needs of the graduates were consistent with the Texas Essential Elements. Descriptive statistics were used to answer research questions. Hypotheses testing was accomplished using two way analysis of variance and Pearson Product Moment Correlational procedures.

Overall results indicated that: (a) adolescents were concerned with their health, (b) many of their perceived health education needs were consistent with the Texas Essential Elements, but (c) they also identified salient needs which were not addressed by their health curriculum, and finally (d) the needs identified were representative of lifestyle choices and risk behaviors in which they were already engaged. Significant differences emerged in the following areas: (a) between metropolitan and suburban high school graduates in health knowledge, (b) between rural and suburban high school graduates in health behaviors, (c) between ethnic groups in health knowledge, and (d) by gender classification in perceived health needs.