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Ethics, Emotional Quotient, and Interpersonal Connection: Peer-identified Characteristics for Urban High School-based Peer Navigators

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Objective: Youth-initiated outreach in schools has the potential to increase utilization of school-based health centers (SBHC). We aimed to identify preferred attributes of peer navigators (PNs) working in SBHCs. Methods: We conducted 4 focus groups using the nominal group technique. Participants represented a convenience sample of students. Inclusion criteria included enrollment in SBHC and afterschool availability. Each group was 60 minutes long and reflected on 3 aspects of PNs to define key characteristics. We used a team-based approach for iterative-inductive analysis of data involving open-coding to identify inter-group themes. Results: We recruited 37 participants from a single high school campus. Each group consisted of 8-13 adolescents. The "Who" question identified preferred characteristics: "Having Experience/Knowledge," "Positive Role Model," and "High Emotional Quotient." The "What" question identified preferred content areas: "Mental Health," "Reproductive Health," and "Basic Health Information." The "How" question identified methods of communication: "Clear Visibility," "Community Participation," "One-on-One Interactions." Conclusions: Adolescents provided assessment of what they would hope for from a PN. There is overwhelming emphasis on interpersonal qualities and ethical standards of behavior. This could have important program design and recruitment implications for PNs working with adolescent populations.
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Keywords: ADOLESCENT HEALTH; FOCUS GROUPS; NOMINAL GROUP PROCESS; PEER NAVIGATORS; SCHOOL HEALTH; SCHOOL-BASED HEALTH CENTERS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2021

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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