Evaluation of an unintentional injury prevention curriculum for Korean-American students
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Injury among children is a major public health issue even though it is predictable and often it can be preventable. Behaviors that promote safety can reduce the occurrence of severe injuries among children. However, the frequencies of behaviors that promote safety are low, both among U.S. and Korean-American children. | This study evaluated the impact of an unintentional injury prevention curriculum, Risk Watch, among Korean-American students, using a quasi-experimental design with a nonequivalent control group. Two intervention and two control Korean schools in Atlanta participated in this study. The intervention consisted of weekly traffic, bike and pedestrian, and fire safety lessons, using the Risk Watch curriculum. One hundred two students completed a pretest and a posttest. | The main outcomes were safety behaviors (seat belt use or helmet use) and behavioral intentions. Based on the constructs of the theory of planned behavior, intervening variables were perceived behavioral control, attitudes, subjective norms toward safety behaviors, and knowledge. Analysis of covariance and hierarchical multiple linear regression analyses were used for the statistical analyses. | Strong intervention effects were found on increasing knowledge of all safety topics in the intervention group. Additionally, important intervention effects were detected on increasing seat belt use and helmet use, behavioral intentions to wear a seat belt and to wear a helmet, perceived behavioral control toward a fire-related-preventive behavior, and attitudes toward traffic, bicycle, and fire safeties among pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. For students in grades 1 and 2, the intervention effects were found on increasing helmet use and subjective norms for parents about seat belt use, helmet use, and response to smoke detectors. Among students in grades 3 to 8, the intervention group showed statistically significant increases on seat belt use and perceived behavioral control toward a fire-related-preventive behavior, compared to the control group. The positive changes in safety behaviors or behavioral intentions were more likely to be associated with an increase in constructs of the theory of planned behavior among PreK and K students and an the increase in knowledge among older students. Limitations of the study and recommendations for the Risk Watch curriculum and for unintentional injury prevention programs for school children are discussed.