This page contains the findings of systematic reviews undertaken by the EPPI-Centre Health Promotion and Public Health Reviews Facility
- Peer-delivered health promotion may be more successful with young women and with those young people who are not at enhanced risk of adverse health outcomes, especially in school settings.
- Simply using peer leaders instead of adult providers to deliver didactic information on health topics does not lead to changes in behaviour. Thus, using peer leaders to deliver health information does not automatically make an intervention more ‘innovative’ or more likely to be effective than other traditional health education strategies.
- The possibility that the greatest effect of peer education is on the peer educators themselves needs to be addressed. Intervention (and evaluation) efforts should not neglect the wider target group and confine their efforts to a small group of peer leaders.
- Sexual health interventions which provide skills-based information and are delivered by same-age peer leaders in college settings have been shown to be more effective in bringing about positive changes in the knowledge and attitudes of university students (but not behaviour), as compared to adult health educators.
- Peer delivered interventions in community settings which are developed in partnership with young people and take into consideration some of the wider social and cultural determinants of health can be successful in increasing the practice of safe sex amongst young people (aged over 18) at enhanced risk of adverse health outcomes.
- A peer-delivered health promotion using a ‘community mobilisation’ approach has been successfully used with young gay men in the USA. To what extent this can be transferred to other countries and to other groups of young people was not determined.
- One intervention in the USA used opinion leaders to endorse HIV/AIDS risk reduction behaviour change among gay men. This resulted in short-term reduction in risk behaviour, but there was no evidence of long-term change.
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1. Review of effectiveness of health promotion interventions for men who have sex with men (1996)
2. A review of the effectiveness and appropriateness of peer-delivered health promotion interventions for young people (1999)