Background: InCharge is a newly developed school-based health intervention aimed at older adolescents. It aims to promote a healthier lifestyle by increasing self-regulation skills. After the InCharge program’s effectiveness was previously investigated in a pilot study, the content of the program was adapted.
Objective: This study describes the protocol of a cluster randomized controlled trial that aims to investigate the effectiveness of the InCharge program.
Methods: A cluster randomized controlled trial including 70 classes with older adolescents (aged 16 years or older) in the Netherlands will be conducted to test the effectiveness of the InCharge program. After schools are recruited, randomization occurs at the class level. The trial consists of the following two conditions: an experimental condition and a control condition. Participants in the experimental condition will be given the InCharge intervention, consisting of four lessons of 50 minutes, with each lesson containing three assignments of approximately 15 minutes. While participants in the experimental condition will receive InCharge, participants in the control condition will receive regular academic school courses. Surveys are administered 1 week before the intervention (baseline), 1 week after the intervention (posttest), and 12 weeks after the intervention (follow-up). Variables of interest include, but are not limited to, self-regulation; predictors of snack intake, physical activity, and alcohol use; and interpersonal communication regarding these health behaviors. In addition to surveys, observations will be conducted during the first and fourth lessons, teachers will be interviewed, and focus groups will be held with a selection of students from the intervention condition.
Results: Enrollment started in September 2017. As of June 2019, a total of 1216 participants were enrolled for this trial. Findings will be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at conferences. The trial has been approved by the Ethics Review Board of the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences of the University of Amsterdam (reference no.: 2017-PC-8244).
Conclusions: In this study protocol, the design of a cluster randomized controlled trial is described, which assesses how effectively the school-based intervention InCharge stimulates healthier lifestyles in late adolescents. We hypothesize that participants in the experimental condition will consume less alcohol, eat fewer unhealthy snacks, and be more physically active compared with participants in the control condition.
Trial registration: Netherlands Trial Register (NL6654); https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/6654.
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