Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



Major Professor

Robert H. Kirk

Committee Members

Bill C. Wallace, Bert L. Jones, Charles R. Comeaux


The primary purpose of this study was to comprehensively evaluate the school health program of Bedford County, Tennessee. The program was studied from four perspectives: (1) school health instructional practices as determined by personal interviews with school principals; (2) the status of students' health knowledge, attitudes, and behavior as revealed by responses to standardized health behavior inventories (H, B. I.’s); (3) students ' health interests which were based on in formal class interviews and open-ended questionnaires; and (4) community perceptions of local health problems and the schools' contribution to the alleviation of these problems as indicated by responses to mailed questionnaires . The data coming from questionnaires and inventories were analyzed descriptively to allow for comparisons between sample groups. Statistical tests of probability were used to denote differences in students' scores to H. B. I.'s according to sex, grade, and school.

The analysis of findings of the study led to the following major conclusions:

  1. There was no indication of a sequential plan of health education opportunities for grades 1-12. Health instruct ion was most often correlated with another subject or taught on an incidental basis by teachers with a minimum of training in health education, Health instruction was most continuous on a grade-to-grade basis at the elementary level; least continuous at the senior high level.
  2. The overall health knowledge of Bedford County students was markedly low when compared to national norms. Ninth grade students were especially deficient and score improved very little for twelfth graders. The highest scores were achieved by sixth grade students, yet they were below the national average. Health content areas which were consistently low in all grade levels were nutrition, dental health, mental health, infection and disease, and community health.
  3. Students valued the health course and were particularly interested in the areas of mental health, sex education, social-emotional health, and drug abuse.
  4. Community personnel perceived schools to have a significant contribution in the alleviation of many local health problems, particularly drug abuse, venereal disease, nutrition, alcoholism, accidents, and illegitimacy. However, the school health education program was not thought to be doing an adequate job.
  5. The overall research design employed in this study proved to be most functional for rendering a thorough and comprehensive assessment of the school health education program and for providing information useful for curriculum development.

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