July 27, 2020

AGEC Educational Programs Improving Knowledge for Arkansans


By Undergraduate students Nicole Henry, Rachel Lance, Alexis Ozden, and Sarah Wilson
and Jennifer Peszka, PhD
Department of Psychology
Hendrix College


Over the last year, AGEC presented two of our educational programs (Understanding Opioids Forum and Elder Abuse and Neglect Awareness) to almost 200 people across Arkansas. This spring, a group of Hendrix students and their professors worked with AGEC to analyze the pre- and post-test workshop assessments to help determine program effectiveness.

Understanding Opioids Forum: Before and after presentations, participants were asked to complete a questionnaire containing both factual knowledge (e.g. About how long does it take to become physically dependent on an opioid medication?) and self-perceived knowledge about opioids. Following the opioid education forum, factual knowledge on a four-item multiple-choice test improved by 20% from a 2.3 (46.0%) to a 3.3 (66.0%) on the five-point scale (from 0-4). Participants showed similar improvements in their self-perceived knowledge of opioids and non-opioid pain management alternatives (from 1 = very low to 5 = very high) with scores increasing by 25% (from 2.8 to 4.2).  Improvements were also seen in confidence (from 1 = not confident to 4 = very confident) in their knowledge about opioid use and risk of addiction which increased by 22.5% (from 2.3 to 3.2) and their confidence in choosing alternatives to opioids which increased by 15% (from 2.7 to 3.3).  Participants also rated their satisfaction with the presentations and presenters on four questions. Rating each question from 1 to 5 and summing the four satisfaction questions led to total satisfaction scores between 4 and 20.  Most participants were highly satisfied with this program; 76% scored between 18-20 and only 2.7% scored below a 13.

Elder Abuse and Neglect (EAN) Awareness: Again, before and after presentations, EMS personnel were asked to complete a questionnaire.  For this program, participants were asked four questions about their self-perceived knowledge of EAN (e.g. Which answer best describes your current knowledge of common signs of EAN?). Following the EAN program, self-reported knowledge for recognizing EAN improved by 35% (from 12.1 to 17.7 on the 16-point scale from 4-20). Participants also answered two questions about their likelihood of taking some action if they suspected EAN (e.g. How likely are you to make a call to Adult Protective Services if you suspect EAN?).  Following the program, self-reported likelihood of acting when EAN is suspected increased by 30% (from 4.2 to 5.7 on a 5-point scale from 1-6).

Overall, program assessment so far suggests that the two programs are working well.  The participants in the Understanding Opioids Forum increased their objective and self-reported knowledge, increased their confidence about opioid use, addiction, and alternative pain management strategies, and were highly satisfied with the program.  Participants in the Elder Abuse and Neglect Awareness programs increased their self-reported knowledge of the signs of EAN and likelihood of acting if EAN were suspected.

Future program assessment will be directed by issues raised through these assessments such as additional demographic questions asked, increased consistency of assessment procedures across programs, and matching pre- and post-test assessment documents for more detailed statistical analyses.