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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Simon Forrest

Strange, V., Forrest, S., , Oakley, A., & & the RIPPLE team. (2002). Peer-led Sex Education characteristics of peer educators and their perceptions of the impact on them of participation in a peer education programme. Health Education Research 17(3): 327-337.

Author(s) from Durham


The RIPPLE study is a randomized controlled trial of peer-led sex education in English secondary schools. In 1997, 27 schools were recruited and randomly allocated to a programme of peer-led sex education or to act as control schools. In experimental schools peer educators in Year 12 (aged 16/17 years) were recruited in two successive cohorts and, having received a standardized training programme, delivered classroom-based sex education sessions to Year 9 students (aged 13/14 years). This paper is the first of two focusing on data gathered from these peer educators. Through analysis of pre- (n = 505) and post- (n = 331) programme questionnaire data, the paper describes the profile of peer educators and examines the impact on them of their involvement. Compared to the students receiving the peer-led sex education, more peer educators were female, white, high academic achievers and less socially disadvantaged. Peer educators reported positive changes in sexual knowledge and changes towards more liberal attitudes, and believed the programme would have a positive impact on their confidence in relationships and on their sexual behaviour. There was an increase in confidence about communication and interaction in groups. The paper discusses the methodological difficulties of assessing how involvement in such a programme impacts on peer educators.