Effect of two educational interventions on pharmacy students' confidence and skills in dealing with adolescents with asthma

Amy Donnelly, Smita Shah, Sinthia Bosnic-Anticevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The aim of this study was: (1) to investigate the feasibility of incorporating the Triple A programme into the undergraduate pharmacy curriculum; (2) to compare the effect of the Triple A programme versus problem-based learning methods on the asthma knowledge of final-year pharmacy students and their perceived confidence in dealing with adolescents with asthma; and (3) to evaluate the effectiveness of a pharmacy student-led Triple A education on the asthma knowledge of adolescents with asthma.

Design: Prospective, randomized parallel group design.

Setting: Final year undergraduate bachelor of pharmacy degree.

Methods: The study used a parallel group design. One hundred and fifty seven final-year pharmacy students were randomly assigned to work through the asthma problem-based learning (PBL) case (group A, n = 62) or undergo Triple A educator training (group B, n = 95). Asthma knowledge (AK) and confidence in managing asthma (AC) were tested through questionnaires before and after training and analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA). Pharmacy student Triple A educators delivered the programme to a volunteer group of year 11 students (n = 8) from one Sydney metropolitan high school. Year 11 student asthma knowledge before and after the Triple A programme was similarly tested through questionnaires and analyzed using paired t-tests.

Results: There was no statistically significant difference between group A and group B at baseline in either the AK or AC scores (24.6 ± 0.5 vs. 24.5 ± 0.6 and 21.0 ± 0.4 vs. 20 ± 0.6 respectively, p > 0.05, n = 157, Mann-Whitney U Test). Both AK and AC scores significantly improved following training in both groups, but the increase in AC scores was higher in group B (increase of one for group A and increase of six for group B, p < 0.05, n = 157, repeated measure ANOVA). Furthermore, there was a significant improvement in the asthma knowledge of the year 11 students who participated in the Triple A programme (an increase from 14.86 ± 6.25 to 22.57 ± 2.64, n = 8, p < 0.05 paired samples t-test).

Conclusion: Both the Triple A programme and PBL were effective in improving pharmacy students’ asthma knowledge, but the Triple A programme was more effective in improving students’ confidence about managing asthma. The programme thus appears feasible and appropriate to incorporate into an undergraduate pharmacy curriculum. Furthermore, as the asthma knowledge of year 11 students was significantly improved by the delivery of the Triple A programme by trained pharmacy students, it appears feasible to have pharmacy students continue to participate in the Triple A programme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-229
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Education Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescence
  • asthma
  • health promotion
  • pharmacy
  • undergraduate


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