Celebrating the end of school life: A pilot study

Alison Hutton, Allison Roderick, Rebecca Munt, Lidia Mayner, Mayumi Kako, Paul Arbon

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction: Celebrating the end of secondary schooling ("Schoolies Festival") is an established part of the school culture in Australia, with thousands of young students converging at beachside locations to celebrate this rite of passage. The aim of this study was to identify what young people believe is important to remain safe and healthy at this mass-gathering event. Methods: This study was conducted using postcard surveys requesting demographic data and responses to the questions: (1) What do you think is important to stay safe and healthy at this event?; (2) What do you think is risky attending this event?; (3) Which of these is most likely to affect you at this event?; and (4) Where would you seek medical support? The surveys were distributed to attendees of a "Schoolies Festival" in Adelaide, Australia in 2008. Results: One hundred sixty-five of the 300 postcards were returned completed. The average age of the respondents was 17.7 years. "Not using drugs" was considered important to staying safe and healthy by 120 (73%) of respondents; "drinking alcohol responsibly" was considered important by 89 (54%); and "violent behavior" and "exposure to illicit drugs" were identified as important risks by 135 (82%) and 98 (59%) of participants, respectively. Only 35 (21%) of respondents indicated that they would seek on-site health care if needed. Conclusion: Young people attending mass-gathering celebrations have valid concerns about drinking responsibly, exposure to illicit drugs, and sexual harassment. Health messages or health promotion strategies aimed at their specific concerns would be helpful in the mitigation of illness or injury at such events.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)13-17
    Number of pages5
    JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


    • health promotion
    • mass-gatherings
    • school celebrations
    • Schoolies Festival


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