Abstract 3391: FAST Stroke Educational Program for Middle School Students
Significance and Purpose: Given the continuing escalation of obesity and other major modifable stroke risk factors in American children, now more than ever the testing of the efficacy of stroke educational programs remains a priority. The specific aim of this study was to determine if the 9 month FAST Stroke Prevention Educational Program for Middle School Students leads to a significantly greater increase in stroke knowledge (signs/symptoms, risk factors), self-efficacy, treatment seeking behaviors (calling 911), and stroke risk reduction behavior when compared to a control school. A secondary purpose was to obtain comparison data (intervention and control school) regarding blood pressure, waist circumference, and body mass index.
Methodology: The study design is quasi-experimental with an intervention and control middle school that each receives the initial program pretest and long-term posttest. Both schools are in the same city and serve primarily African American students ages 10-14. Instruments to measure the key study variables have established reliability, Chronbach alpha of .85 or higher, and content validity. The FAST Program framed within Social Cognitive Theory, spanned 9 months consisting of 6 modules that included active learning experiences, involvement of multiple stakeholders (school, parents, and community), and senior nursing students in the program implementation.
Findings: Seventy-seven students (54% male, 46% female) received the FAST Program and 101 students were in the control school (45% male, 55% female). Students who received the FAST Program knew significantly more of the warning signs of stroke than students not receiving the program. No significant difference between the control and intervention school occurred pertaining to knowledge of stroke risk factors at pretest or long-term posttest at 9 months. Compared to pretest scores, students receiving FAST scored significantly higher at posttest and long-term posttest on self-efficacy. Of those in the intervention group who had identified a modifiable stroke risk reduction objective (e.g., increase exercise, eat a more healthy diet, stop smoking), 42% reported achieving their objective; while another 19% reported making progress. Although BMIs and blood pressures improved in students receiving FAST, there were not any significant improvements between the two schools.
Conclusions and Practice Implications: The FAST Program improved the convenient sample of African American students’ knowledge of stroke warning signs and self-efficacy. Plus, many students were able to achieve their predetermined modifiable stroke risk factors in the FAST Program. Further program improvements are recommended, but it is clear that active involvement of parents, school and community stakeholders are essential.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.