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From Complex Interventions to Complex Systems: Using Social Network Analysis to Understand School Engagement with Health and Wellbeing

1
DECIPHer, UKCRC Centre of Excellence, Cardiff University, 1-3 Museum Place, Cardiff CF10 3BD, UK
2
Centre for Transformative Innovation, Faculty of Business and Law, Swinburne University of Technology, AGSE121 Hawthorne Campus, Melbourne, PO Box 218, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1694; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101694
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 8 May 2019 / Accepted: 9 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement)
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Abstract

Challenges in changing school system functioning to orient them towards health are commonly underestimated. Understanding the social interactions of school staff from a complex systems perspective may provide valuable insight into how system dynamics may impede or facilitate the promotion of health and wellbeing. Ego social network analysis was employed with wellbeing leads within four diverse case study schools to identify variability in embeddedness of health and wellbeing roles. This variation, as well as the broader context, was then explored through semi-structured qualitative interviews with school staff and a Healthy Schools Coordinator, sampled from the wellbeing leads’ ego-networks. Networks varied in terms of perceived importance and frequency of interactions, centrality, brokerage and cliques. Case study schools that showed higher engagement with health and wellbeing had highly organised, distributed leadership structures, dedicated wellbeing roles, senior leadership support and outside agencies embedded within school systems. Allocation of responsibility for wellbeing to a member of the senior leadership team alongside a distributed leadership approach may facilitate the reorientation of school systems towards health and wellbeing. Ego-network analysis to understand variance in complex school system starting points could be replicated on a larger scale and utilised to design complex interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: school health; complexity; complex systems; network; ego network analysis; social network analysis school health; complexity; complex systems; network; ego network analysis; social network analysis
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Littlecott, H.J.; Moore, G.F.; Gallagher, H.C.; Murphy, S. From Complex Interventions to Complex Systems: Using Social Network Analysis to Understand School Engagement with Health and Wellbeing. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1694.

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