Introduction A study conducted among high school students aimed to examine their intentions for and attitude to practicing some healthy behaviors. Twenty female students were selected randomly and allocated equally into two groups. The experimental group, which formed the first group, underwent an intervention. The second group, the control group, did not undergo an intervention. The purpose of this paper is to test two hypotheses. i.There is a difference between the experimental and control groups in their intent to engage in risky behaviors. ii.There is no difference between the experimental and control groups in their attitudes towards risky behaviors. Design At the beginning of the fall semester, both experimental and control groups completed a survey. The participants in the experimental groups attended class lessons. The class was designed to educate students about some healthy behaviors, such as wearing a seat belt, exercising, avoiding smoking, and using contraception. In contrast, individuals in the control group did not take the class lessons. At the end of the semester, participants of both groups were administered the same survey, distributed to them at the outset, except for the demographic data, which were collected once at the beginning. The survey had three parts. Five questions were in the first part of the survey. These questions aimed to check the respondents’ intention of engaging in healthy behaviors (e.g., wearing a seat belt and wearing a helmet bicycle) in the next three months. The answers were put on a scale of 1 to 4, where 4 represented a highly likely scenario and 1 represented a highly unlikely occurrence. Four was the most favorable and one was the least favorable. The instrument also had 4 questions about behavioral attitudes of the participants. The answers were put on a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 represented the situation when a participant strongly agreed and 1 – when a participant strongly disagreed. Therefore, 1 was the least favorable answer, and 5 was the most favorable answer. The third part of the survey had two questions about behavioral practice, i.e., frequency of smoking and bicycle riding in the past three months. Participants were required to tell how many times they smoked in the past three months, by stating a number ranging from 0 to 998. A scale of 1 to 3 evaluated the frequency of riding a bicycle. 3 represented a frequent rider, while 1 represented those who never rode a bicycle during the test period. Description of sample As shown in Table 1, the mean age of the experimental subjects was 17.23 years, and 16.97 years for the control subjects. The difference between experimental and control groups in mean age was not significant (p> 0.05). The mean annual family income was $35,000 for the experimental group and 35,700 dollars for the control group. There was no significant difference in mean annual family income between the two groups (p> 0.05). The mean years of practicing physical activity were eight years in the experimental group and four years in the control group. A statistically significant difference existed between the two groups (p<0.05) in the years of practicing physical activity in terms of experimental advantage. The mean number of minutes per week for exercising was 43 minutes for the control group, and 66 minutes for the experimental group. The difference was less than 0.05 between the two groups. This difference favored the experimental subjects, who spent more time exercising than the control subjects. The experimental subjects reported a mean of 7.44 years in organized sports, while the control subjects had a mean of 4.23 years. There was a significant difference between the two groups (p< 0.05). This difference favored the experimental group. Eighty percent of the participants in the experimental group wore a helmet when riding a bike, while 20% of them did not wear a helmet. In the control group, 90% percent reported that they wore a helmet, while 10% of the participants did not wear a helmet. A statistically significant difference (p<0.05) existed between the participants of the two groups who wore a helmet. More control subjects were wearing a bike helmet when riding their bikes at the baseline. Analytical technique Data in the intent section and the attitude section were manipulated to a new variable called additive score. The variable resulted when all the scores in each section were summed up and coded uniformly. Additive intent score ranged from 5, the least favorable, to 20, the most favorable. Therefore, as a respondent’s score in additive intent increases, the intent to have healthy behaviors also increases. The additive score for attitude ranged from 4 (representing the least favorable) to 20 (representing the most favorable).
The higher an individual scored in the additive attitude score, the better attitude he/she had towards healthy behaviors. Using additive score for each section helped to assess how fair or unfair individuals performed in their intent or attitude tests. The third section of the survey was not manipulated because of the difference in the coding process in both questions. The data of the smoking questions were quantitative and not nominal, as in the previous sections, and they could not be manipulated. There was one question regarding the frequency of riding a bike, which was coded differently from the smoking question. In order to test the hypotheses, the statistically significant differences between the experimental and the control groups were established using the t-test. The independent t-test was applied to build a significant statistical difference between the two groups, because they did not have a conceptual relationship. The dependent t-test was utilized to check the statistically significant difference within a group, because each group was studied under two conditions (pre-test and posttest). The threshold P value, for statistical significance, was set to be less than 0.05. A significant difference between subjects (p<0.05) indicated the presence of a winner and a loser, or a higher and a lower. Descriptive findings The experimental mean of the additive intent to engage in healthy behaviors increased from 12.6 before the intervention to 18 after the intervention. In contrast, the control mean additive intent dropped from 14.1 in the pre-test to 10.3 in the posttest. Although the control subjects performed better in their intent than the experimental subjects in the pre-test, experimental subjects outperformed the control subjects in the posttest. The maximum value for additive intent experimental participants was 15 in the pre-test and 20 in the posttest, as opposed to 17 and 15 in the control group. The maximum value of additive intent also reflected improvement in the experimental group’s performance than in the control group (see Table 2). The mean additive score of the experimental group in the students’ attitude toward the healthy risky behaviors test increased from 11.9 in the pre-test to 17.9 in the posttest. There was also a growth in the minimum value of experimental participants’ attitude, from 6 in the pre-test to 15 in the posttest. The experimental individuals also had a better attitude score after the trial than before the trial, and also better than the control group. They had a mean additive attitude score of 12.7, while the control group had a mean score of 10.7. The experimental median was 17.37 for the additive intent and 17.72 for additive attitude in the posttest. However, the control group had a median of 10.50 in the posttest in both additive intent and additive attitude tests. According to the posttest medians, the experimental respondents outperformed the control respondents in both intent and attitude variables, although control group had a higher median in the pre-test. As presented in Table 3, the mean number of times experimental participants smoked before the intervention dropped from 0.6 to 0.4 after the intervention. On the contrary, the mean number of smoking in control participants decreased from 0.7 to 0.6 after the trial. Both groups had a better performance after the test than before the test. However, the experimental participants smoked less than the control participants in both the pretests and the posttests. The mean frequency of riding a bicycle for experimental respondents increased from a baseline of 1.7 to 2.6 after the trial. This reflected an improvement in bicycle riding practices after the trial than before the trial. The posttest results also reflect that the experimental subjects rode bicycles more than the control subjects. Results As shown in Table 4, a statistically significant difference existed between the experimental and control groups in the mean additive intent to involve in risky behaviors at the baseline (p<0.05). A significant difference in terms of experimental advantage (p<0.05) also existed in the two groups after the intervention. The experimental group was more likely to have an intention of practicing healthy behaviors than the control group after and before the test. No significant difference was observed in the participant’s attitudes towards risky behavior. However, their attitudes were significantly different at the end of the test (p<0.05). In the posttest, the experimental respondents performed better in their attitude toward healthy behavior than the control group. There was no significant difference between experimental and control subjects in the number of times they smoked before and after the study (p>0.05). There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups in the mean frequency of bike riding at the baseline (p>0.05). However, there was a significant difference after the intervention between the groups in favor of the experimental group (p<0.05). More experimental respondents practiced riding a bicycle after the trial than the control respondents. The groups were studied under two different conditions. Therefore, data were analyzed to find the difference before and after the intervention within each group. As presented in Table 5, a statistically significant difference existed between the means of experimental additive intent before and after taking the class (p<0.05). From these results, the experimental respondents were more likely to engage in healthy behaviors after the study than before it. There was a significant difference among the experimental group in terms of attitude variable and the frequency of bicycle riding in past three months between pre-test and posttest (p<0.05). The experimental subjects improved their attitudes toward healthy behaviors and bicycle riding after completing the program. However, the number of times experimental subjects smoked in past three months did not reach a statistically significant level before and after the study (p>0.05). A statistically significant difference existed in the control group between pre-test and posttest in terms of intent, attitude, and bicycle riding frequency (p<0.05). The control respondents performed better before the study than after the study in their intent to practice healthy behaviors. They also had better attitudes towards healthy behaviors before the study. The control subjects, who took part in bicycle riding practices, were fewer after the intervention than those who practiced before the intervention. A substantial difference did not occur between posttest and pre-test in the number of times control individuals smoked in the previous three months (p>0.05). Conclusion Based on the discussed results, the null hypotheses were rejected. One null hypothesis proposed that there was no difference in the two groups concerning their attitudes towards risky behaviors. The other null hypothesis proposed that there was no difference in the two groups concerning their attitudes towards risky behaviors. A substantial difference existed between the experimental participants and the control participants in their intention to take risky healthy behaviors after the intervention. This difference favored the experimental group, showing that the class had the power of improving the student’s attitude towards risky behaviors. Although the control group outperformed the experimental group’s intent at baseline, the intent of the experimental group improved after attending class. There was also a significant difference after the intervention of the attitudes of the two groups, which favored the experimental group. Therefore, this result proves that the attitude of experimental subjects towards healthy behaviors improved after being enrolled in a class. A substantial difference among the experimental individuals existed in terms of their intent and attitude toward healthy behaviors before and after the trial. Experimental participants became more willing to do healthy activities after they attended the program than before they attended the program. The program also made many participants improve their attitude towards taking risky behaviors. In contrast, significant difference was found among control participants in their intent and attitude in the initial and final tests. The control subjects did better in both the intent and attitude in pre-test, but they did worse in posttest. However, they did not take the class and they were not affected by the lessons. There was no significant difference between the experimental subjects and the control subjects before and after the trial. There was also no significant difference within each group between pre-test and posttest. It can be inferred that the class did not achieve its goal of changing the smoking behaviors of the students who attended the class. There was a statistically significant difference between the experimental and control groups in the frequency of bicycle riding after the intervention. A significant difference in the frequency of bike riding existed in the experimental group before the beginning and at the end of the class. The class lessons increased the frequency of bike riding among the students who participated in the class. Looking at the sample demographic data, which were taken at the baseline, it can be concluded that a bias affected these findings. At the outset of the study, the experimental subjects were more physically active than the control subjects. They also spent more minutes per week exercising than the control subjects. The experimental subjects also practiced organized sports more than the control subjects. These findings influenced the progress of the experimental subjects after attending the class. Therefore, the improvement of the experimental group was not attributable only to the class, but also to the differences in the sample descriptors. Therefore, it is difficult to establish whether the class lessons should be or should not be offered to all schools in the district. This is because of the differences that originally existed between the groups. Therefore, these differences may have caused the changes made in the students’ intent and attitude toward healthy risky behaviors, apart from the lessons offered in class.