Review Of Choices For Life
The Scottish Executive commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct a review of Choices for Life. Choices for Life is an initiative which aims to promote healthy lifestyles and provide drug, alcohol and tobacco awareness to young people in innovative ways. The intention is to teach young people about important life choices they will face as they move from primary school into secondary school.
The review consisted of a self-completion survey of Primary 7 pupils who attended an event and those who did not attend an event, focus groups with Primary 7 pupils who attended an event, focus groups with secondary school pupils who attended an event last year and interviews with teachers. The research focused on the impact of Choices for Life events by looking at what was learnt and attitudes towards healthy living and substance misuse.
The main findings were:
- Pupils were knowledgeable about health issues prior to the events. They held strong views about drugs, alcohol and smoking; these were all thought to be unhealthy with drugs viewed the most negatively.
- Two-thirds of pupils felt that they had learnt a great deal from the event, although the messages appeared to be more emotive than factual. In particular, the events made pupils think about issues surrounding peer pressure and what they would do if they were offered drugs, alcohol or cigarettes.
- Due to the very negative views already held by the pupils about drugs, alcohol and smoking before they attended an event, there was little scope for opinions to become more negative. This means that the surveys recorded very little change in opinions. Instead, Choices appeared to reinforce existing attitudes.
- Overall, the Choices for Life events entertained pupils and made them think about the issues relating to drugs, alcohol and smoking.
Download the full report at the Scottish executive website
Quantitative and qualitative research methods were used to evaluate Choices for Life. Fieldwork for this project took place between May and June 2006.
- Primary 7 pupils completed questionnaires before and after the events — including pupils who had not attended an event. A total of 1,714 pre-event questionnaires and 1,691 post-event questionnaires were completed.
- Eight depth interviews with Primary 7 teachers were completed.
- Sixteen discussion groups were held with Primary 7 pupils who had attended an event in 2006. Each discussion group had a maximum of 6 pupils.
- Sixteen discussion groups with S1 pupils who had attended an event last year were also conducted to look at any longer-term impact of Choices for Life.