Background Injury is the leading cause of adolescent mortality in rural Guatemala. Effective injury prevention approaches are conceptualized by local communities to fit the population and environment. Despite the injury burden affecting adolescents worldwide, there is limited engagement of this high-risk population as injury prevention capacity-builders. This project aimed to adapt the World Health Organization (WHO) Child Injury Prevention Course for adolescents, and to assess the acceptability and efficacy of the modified curriculum in increasing injury prevention knowledge and improving self-confidence in safety behaviors.
Methods The conceptual framework of Adult Learning Theory was used to modify the WHO course into an engaging curriculum for adolescents. The curriculum was then translated into Spanish and implemented with a class of 11 adolescents enrolled in a youth leadership program in rural Guatemala. Pre-/post-testing was conducted.
Results Pre-/post-testing revealed increased injury prevention knowledge (76% to 96%) and self-confidence to implement community injury prevention strategies (50% to 90%) among participants. Participant feedback from the course was positive: 60% endorsed that all topics were comprehensively covered; however 20% desired more education on drowning prevention and road traffic injury. Ninety percent of adolescents anticipated positive safety behavior change post-course.
Discussion and Learning Outcomes Our modified Adolescent Injury Prevention Program was well-accepted by a class of Guatemalan adolescent learners and was efficacious at increasing their injury prevention knowledge and self-confidence. This novel approach of actively engaging adolescents in injury prevention programs could lead to increased adolescent safety behaviors, while building capacity among this high-risk population and their communities.
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