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BMC Public Health. 2014 Apr 8;14:331. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-331.

The COMPASS study: a longitudinal hierarchical research platform for evaluating natural experiments related to changes in school-level programs, policies and built environment resources.

Author information

1
School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, 200 University, Avenue, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada. sleather@uwaterloo.ca.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Few researchers have the data required to adequately understand how the school environment impacts youth health behaviour development over time.

METHODS/DESIGN:

COMPASS is a prospective cohort study designed to annually collect hierarchical longitudinal data from a sample of 90 secondary schools and the 50,000+ grade 9 to 12 students attending those schools. COMPASS uses a rigorous quasi-experimental design to evaluate how changes in school programs, policies, and/or built environment (BE) characteristics are related to changes in multiple youth health behaviours and outcomes over time. These data will allow for the quasi-experimental evaluation of natural experiments that will occur within schools over the course of COMPASS, providing a means for generating "practice based evidence" in school-based prevention programming.

DISCUSSION:

COMPASS is the first study with the infrastructure to robustly evaluate the impact that changes in multiple school-level programs, policies, and BE characteristics within or surrounding a school might have on multiple youth health behaviours or outcomes over time. COMPASS will provide valuable new insight for planning, tailoring and targeting of school-based prevention initiatives where they are most likely to have impact.

PMID:
24712314
PMCID:
PMC4234205
DOI:
10.1186/1471-2458-14-331
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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