Engaging Youth for Positive Change: Promoting Health Through Civic Education

Project Summary: 

The researchers are assessing how civic engagement of young people can impact health, well-being, and equity in rural communities by evaluating the impact of Engaging Youth for Positive Change (EYPC). EYPC is a civic engagement program that provides young people ages 14-19 with a systematic approach to working with local government to adopt health-promoting policies. The researchers are assessing youth outcomes and also examining the implementation of the program in EYPC classrooms to determine the cost-effectiveness. Evidence generated from this work will inform how engaging youth in rural communities with civic education can impact individual and community health.

Open Science Framework registration link:


Health: Mental health, substance abuse, physical activity, and eating/dietary behavior

Other: leadership, community bonding, teamwork and internal efficacy


The investigators are using a school-level randomized design that assigns rural high schools in Illinois to either the treatment or control conditions. Treatment schools will implement the program for one semester, starting in fall 2019, and comparison schools will receive the program in a delayed rollout. Hierarchical linear modeling is used to analyze the individual outcomes and descriptive statistics is used to analyze the community outcomes. Structural equation modeling is used to determine how dose and intensity, contextual factors, and moderators affect the outcomes of interest.

Principal Investigators: 

Jennifer Hamilton, PhD

Scott Hays, PhD

Grant Start Date: 
August 2019
Award Amount & Duration: 

$428,139 & 30 months