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The role of school-based health education in adolescent spiritual moral, social and cultural development

Chester, Kayleigh L., Klemera, Ellen, josefine, Magnusson, Spencer, Neil H., Brooks, Fiona M. (2019) The role of school-based health education in adolescent spiritual moral, social and cultural development. Health Education Journal, 78 (5). pp. 582-594. ISSN 0017-8969. E-ISSN 1748-8176. (doi:10.1177/0017896919832341) (KAR id:88937)


Background: The broad nature of young people’s development is internationally acknowledged, which

includes physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social elements. In England, schools have a legal obligation to promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development. It has been suggested that personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, a broad form of school-based health education, may contribute to building SMSC development in young people.

Objective: To examine the association between PSHE education in schools and outcomes of an SMSC nature. Method: The study drew on data collected as part of the 2014 World Health Organization Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study for England. Data were collected from young people aged 11, 13 and15years, using anonymous self-completed surveys administered during school lessons. The analysis drew on responses from 3,731 young people. Multilevel modelling was used to examine the association between PSHE education and variables of an SMSC nature, while controlling for demographic variables.

Results: Overall, the majority of young people who reported receiving PSHE education were positive aboutthe benefits of this school-based health education. Positive perceptions of PSHE education were significantly associated with increased spirituality among young people, reduced engagement in both fighting and bullying perpetration and increased general self-efficacy.

Conclusion: This paper highlights the important role that health education in a school context may have for young people’s broader development, and contributes to the national evidence base advocating forcompulsory PSHE education in schools.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0017896919832341
Uncontrolled keywords: Adolescent development, health education, PSHE education, spirituality, young people
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Ellen Klemera
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2021 12:29 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 03:54 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Klemera, Ellen.

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