Girls on the Run International has evaluated program efficacy since 2002. Several preliminary descriptive and quasi-experimental studies have been conducted since that time—specific information and findings are included in the evaluation reports.
National Evaluation In 2014, we identified a need to update our evaluation measures that have been ongoing for almost a decade. In collaboration with our faculty research consultant (Dr. Maureen Weiss, University of Minnesota) we sought age-appropriate measures that are more closely aligned with the positive youth development framework and specifically the 5Cs + 1 (competence, confidence, connection, character, caring and
contribution). As part of the process
Pilot Study A pilot assessment of Girls on the Run was implemented in 2002 using a one group pre-post-test design.Girls on the Run program participants from 28 program sites (n=322) in 5 geographic areas representing a range of metropolitan areas and SES were assessed. A self-report survey including the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the child/adolescent version of the Silhouette Ratings Scale, and an adapted version of the Children’s Eating Attitudes Test (ChEAT) was used to assess self-esteem, body size satisfaction, and eating attitudes and behaviors. Pre- to post-test improvements were significant (p<.05) for self-esteem, eating attitudes and behaviors, and body size satisfaction.
Preliminary Study Building upon the pilot study, a more expansive study was implemented in 2005 using a convenience sample of 20 councils representing four geographic areas using a non-experimental, single-group pre-post- intervention design of Girls on the Run and Girls on Track (n=1034).[5, 6] Participants completed a self-report survey including the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale to assess global self-esteem, the child/adolescent version of the Schematic Figural Scale to assess body image, one question from the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey to assess vigorous physical activity frequency, and an adapted version of the Commitment to Physical Activity Scale (CPAS). Statistically,significant pre-post improvements (p>.01) occurred for self-esteem, body size satisfaction, and vigorous physical activity frequency within the last week. An increase in overall commitment to PA also occurred as well as a decrease in negative attitudes towards PA. Both before and after the intervention, vigorous PA frequency was significantly correlated to PA commitment (p<0.01). When stratified by
Quasi-Experimental Study A longitudinal quasi-experimental study was implemented in 2009 to evaluate Girls on the Run intervention effects among 877 participants categorized into one of three groups (never, newly, and previously exposed to the intervention). A 64-item self-report survey measured participant psychological and physical assets at three time-points. Nested random effects ANOVA models were used to compare demographic factors and psychological and physical assets between exposure groups and to compare longitudinal differences in these developmental assets. After adjustment for multiple comparisons, previous program participants had significantly higher physical activity commitment (p<.01) and physical activity levels (p<.05) at pre-intervention than never exposed. From pre- to post-intervention body image improved in never and newly exposed participants, which persisted through follow-up in the comparison group. Physical activity increased from pre-intervention to follow-up among never and newly exposed participants (all p<.05).
Longitudinal Study Dr. Maureen Weiss and her graduate students are in the process of developing a rigorous and longitudinal study design to determine the effectiveness of Girls on the Run having a significant positive effect on positive youth development outcomes, including physical (activity frequency, intensity, duration), psychological (e.g., body image, self-esteem, intrinsic motivation), and social assets (e.g., positive adult and peer relationships, resistance to peer pressure to engage in risky behaviors) and health promoting behaviors and outcomes.
“We help other people and learn about the right ways to take care of ourselves.”