"Including us, talking to us and creating a safe environment" - Youth Patient & Public Involvement and the Walking In ScHools (WISH) Study: Lessons learned: Lessons learned

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Young people have the right to be informed and consulted about decisions affecting their lives. Patient and public involvement (PPI) ensures that research is carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ young people rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them. The aim of this paper is to outline how youth PPI can be embedded within a physical activity intervention, reflect on the impact of PPI and provide recommendations for future PPI in a similar context.

A Youth Advisory Group (YAG) was set up within the Walking In ScHools (WISH) Study to involve adolescent girls in the delivery, implementation and dissemination of a physical activity intervention targeted at adolescents. Schools invited pupils aged 12–14 years and 15–18 years to YAG meetings (n3, from 2019 to 2023). Participative methods were used to inform recruitment strategies and data collection methods for the WISH Study.

Across the three YAG meetings, n51 pupils from n8 schools were involved. Pupils enjoyed the YAG meetings, felt that their feedback was valued and considered the meetings a good way to get young people involved in research. The YAG advised on specific issues and although measuring impact was not the primary aim of the YAG meetings, over the course of the study there were many examples of the impact of PPI. Recruitment targets for the WISH Study were exceeded, the attrition rate was low and pupils were engaged in data collection.

Youth PPI is a developing field and there are few physical activity studies that report the PPI work undertaken. Within the WISH Study, three YAG meetings were held successfully, and the views of adolescent girls were central to the development of the study. Considering the specific issues that the YAG advised on (study recruitment, attrition and data collection), there was evidence of a positive impact of PPI.

Patient or Public Contribution
Pupils from post-primary schools interested/participating in the WISH Study were invited to attend YAG meetings. YAG meetings were set up to consult adolescent girls on the delivery, implementation and dissemination of the WISH intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13885
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number1
Early online date6 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 6 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are extremely grateful to the staff and pupils who attended the YAG meetings. They gratefully acknowledge the work of Yolande Butcher, Naomi Bell, Jordan Fleming, Clare Conway, Samantha McCombe, Daniel Fernández Argüelles, Elisha McBride and Layla Alvey who helped organise and facilitate the YAG meetings. The WISH Study was funded from INTERREG VA funding of €8.84m (including a 15% contribution from the Department of Health in NI and Republic of Ireland), which had been awarded to the HSC Research & Development Division of the Public Health Agency Northern Ireland and to the Health Research Board in Ireland for the Cross‐border Healthcare Intervention Trials in Ireland Network project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Health Expectations published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • adolescent girls
  • intervention development
  • patient and public involvement
  • physical activity
  • school


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