Engaging Youth for Positive Change: Promoting Health Through Civic Education

Project Summary

The project team is 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). Engaging Youth for Positive Change is a civic engagement program that provides young people ages 14-19 with a systematic approach to working with local governments 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.

Research Question(s)

  • Impact:
    • To what extent does the EYPC program impact the health and well-being of participating youth in rural IL?
    • To what extent does the EYPC program improve community health and equity outcomes in rural IL?
    • How do dose and intensity, contextual factors, and moderators affect the outcomes of interest?
  • Cost:
    • What is the cost-effectiveness of this program?
  • Fidelity:
    • To what extent is the program implemented with fidelity?
    • To what extent does fidelity mediate the outcomes of interest?


  • Inform decisions about implementation of EYPC or similar programs in rural communities, by providing information about whether and how civically engaging youth impacts individual and community health.


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.

Students from a diverse background chatting around a table
Grantee and Partner organizations

NORC at the University of Chicago
Center for Prevention Research and Development at the University of Illinois

Grant status
In Progress
Principal investigators
Jenny Seelig, PhD
Jennifer Hamilton, PhD
Scott Hays, PhD
Start date
Award amount
30 months

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