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Shaping the Social

Vocational training is completed by only 50% of the students enrolled, and 40% of those who drop out, do not continue in education within ten years. Little is known of the health status of this particular group, but it is frequently reported that young people with a problematic pattern of substance abuse have difficulty completing an education. When considering intervention methods in this target group, it is necessary to take into account that substance use plays a crucial role in the formation of peer relationships among young Danes, and that the development of social groups among students is conditioned by specific institutional arrangements. At vocational schools, improvements in institutionally anchored possibilities for socializing may reduce the risk of dropping out and prevent harmful substance use.


The aim was to develop, implement and evaluate a multi-facetted intervention to improve welbeing, reduce drop-out, and reduce smoking among students in vocational education.


The project period consists of a development phase and an implementation phase. Based on the results of the development phase (2009-2010) the specific form and content of the intervention programme has been developed. The intervention is implemented among students enrolled in basic vocational training at four colleges from October 2011 - October 2012. Six colleges constituted a control group where the intervention was tested against usual practice. A total of 6,000 students participate in the study and answered questionnaires in the beginning of their vocational training and with follow-up after 10 weeks. Drop-out rates were tracked via national registers.

Associated Researchers

  • Professor Vibeke Asmussen Frank, Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, University of Aarhus 
  • Associate Professor Christiane Stock, Unit for Health Promotion Research, Institute of Public Health,University of Southern Denmark
  • Professor Christoffer Johansen, The Danish Cancer Society
  • Professor Erik Axel, Department of Psychology and Educational Studies, Roskilde University



Last Updated 19.10.2023