Should we adjust health education methodology to low-educated employees needs? Findings from Latvia, Poland, Slovenia and Spain

Jacek Pyżalski 1, 2  
National Center for Workplace Health Promotion, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland
National Center for Workplace Health Promotion, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, św. Teresy 8, 91-348, Łódź, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2014;27(3):506–511
Objectives: The presented study explored health beliefs and experiences as well as health education needs of low-educated employees (LEEs) (incomplete primary, primary, lower secondary and basic vocational education) in comparison to those with higher education (secondary and tertiary education) in four European countries: Latvia, Poland, Slovenia and Spain. The main aim was to identify a specificity of low-educated employees (LEEs) by capturing their opinions, experiences, attitudes and needs concerning health education. Material and Methods: The sample consisted of 1691 individuals with the status of an employee (approximately 400 respondents in each of 4 countries participating in the project). The respondents were aged 25-54 (both the control group and the target group consisted in 1/3 of the following age groups: 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54). The respondents were interviewed during the years 2009 and 2010 with a structured questionnaire concerning their health, health behaviours as well as educational needs concerning health education. Results: The study revealed substantial differences in the attitudes of people from this group concerning methodology of health education. LEEs prefer more competitions and campaigns and less written educational materials in comparison to those with higher education. Additionally, they more often perceive a fee, longer time, necessity to take part in a knowledge test and a concern that their health will be checked as factors that can discourage them from taking part in a health training. On the other hand, LEEs can by encouraged to take part in such a training by a media broadcast concerning the event, snacks or lottery during the training, or financial incentives. Conclusions: The results of the study proved the need for specific health education guidelines to conduct health education for low-educated employees. These guidelines should take in account the sources of health education preferred by LEEs as well as the factors that can encourage/discourage their participation in trainings concerning health.