PhD Scientific Days 2024

Budapest, 9-10 July 2024

Mental Health Sciences I.

How to Establish a Control Group when Measuring the Effect of Health Education Interventions Among Adolescents


Dr. Dániel Eörsi1
1: Institute of Behavioural Sciences

Text of the abstract

Introduction:The Balassagyarmat Health Education Program was a school-based intervention among Northern Hungarian adolescents conducted by Semmelweis University focusing on safe sexual health behavior and other health topics. The program was monitored through a follow-up study.
Aim: This presentation addresses the methodological dilemma of determining the most suitable control group design for a particular intervention setting.
Method: In 2021, we held a focus group discussion on this topic with 12 members representing the National Institute for Public Health and the Public Health Departments of all four medical universities in Hungary.
Result: As a result, four possible control group design methods were identified:
a) Randomizing several classes in the same school, with one class as the intervention group and another as the control group,
b) Choosing other schools in the same or different settlements to serve as controls for the intervention,
c) Using literature data for comparison, and
d) Employing a time-shifted control group, where control data are collected from the same community in the year before the intervention.
After detailed consideration of the pros and cons of all possible design methods, it was concluded that the time-shifted design is one of the most favorable for minimizing socioeconomic confounding bias and the leakage effect.
Conclusion: Our experiences confirmed this conclusion. However, it is important to note that we cannot be entirely sure that all socioeconomic and cultural parameters of students from the previous academic year are identical to those of the target group.
Funding: this presentation is not funded by a third party