AlcoLOLs, Re-thinking Drinking: Developing a shared leadership approach for alcohol education
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Pieczka, M. & Casteltrione, I. (2019) AlcoLOLs, Re-thinking Drinking: Developing a shared leadership approach for alcohol education. Health Education Journal, 79(3), pp. 346-361.
Objective: The aim of this article is to extend and elaborate ways of conceptualising, enabling and practising peer leadership in whole-school alcohol education programmes.Design: Qualitative study involving individual and group interviews.Setting: The AlcoLOLs project took place in six secondary schools in North East Edinburgh (Scotland) from 2013 to 2015.Methods: 21 individual and 4 group interviews with young people aged 14-18 who acted as peer leaders in the AlcoLOLs project. Interviews were conducted throughout the duration of the project as a means of hearing peer leaders’ individual voices, monitoring progress and evaluating the intervention. Data were analysed using the principles of thematic analysis.Results: The intervention demonstrates transformative multilevel learning (i.e. cognition, civic/communal attitudes, self-identity, self-efficacy, specific communication/team skills) for peer leaders resulting from the shared leadership process. Results indicate that there is an element of continuity between antecedents, process and outcomes of shared leadership which, in the context of peer education, needs to be seen as an iterative rather than a linear process. Drawing on these findings, a model for a whole-school alcohol peer education intervention is developed. The model is underpinned by critical dialogic principles and reframes alcohol consumption as action rather than behaviour.Conclusion: This article redefines peer leadership in alcohol education interventions for young people as a process involving formal, informal, individual, and shared leadership. Combined with a whole-school dialogic intervention, this approach can lead to the development of alcohol consumption/abstinence as a practice that focuses on articulation of a self-identity drawing on both individual/personal and civic aspects.