School of Nursing and Midwifery

If I were Jack

If I Were Jack

If I Were Jack Logo

An Educational Intervention about Teenage Men and Unintended Pregnancy

The If I Were Jack educational intervention has been developed by a research team led by Dr Maria Lohan at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and based on a programme of empirical research on men’s health, masculinities and teenage pregnancy (see publications).The intervention is designed to increase young people's intention to avoid an unintended pregnancy. Phase I, the development phase, was funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the Irish Health Service Executive’s Crisis Pregnancy Programme and the Health and Social Care Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland. Phase II, the feasibility trial, is funded by the NIHR. The resource is also being adapted internationally in schools in Ireland and in South Australia and leading to similar educational resources in British Columbia,Canada

Please visit the If I Were Jack Website for more information about the intervention.

Phase II NIHR Funded Feasibility Trial

The current phase of the study is a two-year project commencing in May 2014. Funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s Public Health Research Programme and the Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, it is a cluster randomised feasibility trial with embedded process and economic evaluations. Year 11 pupils, Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) teachers and parents in 7 post-primary schools in Northern Ireland will participate. Four of the schools randomly assigned to the intervention group will receive the 4-week If I Were Jack Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE) intervention, and three schools randomly assigned to the control group will continue with normal RSE practice. The aim of the study is to determine the feasibility of conducting a cluster randomised controlled trial of the If I were Jack intervention in post-primary schools. 

If I Were Jack and Research Impact

If I were Jack is an excellent example of the type of impact that research undertaken at the School of Nursing and Midwifery can have on society because it engages with the needs of both policy makers and end users.

In relation to policy makers, the significant benefit has been the bringing together for the first time at an all-Ireland level the primary statutory stakeholders in charge of delivery of relationship and sex education through a grant awarded to Dr Lohan by the ESRC (RES-189-25-0300). Working alongside the research team as part of a stakeholder group were experts from  the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, the Public Health Agency and the Curriculum Authority of Northern Ireland and the Dept. of Education and Skills and Health Services Executive Crisis Pregnancy Programme (Ireland)  The result of this collaboration was the development of two similar versions of If I were Jack, one for the UK and one for Ireland. Watch a video of what key stakeholders have to say about the If I were Jack resource. More information about the project partners is available on the If I Were Jack website. A policy briefing paper for Stormont parliament of Northern Ireland can be downloaded here.

In relation to end users, the development of If I were Jack means that teachers and pupils now have access to an exciting evidenced-based resource, using an interactive movie made by Queen’s University, which can bring home the message to teenage boys, as well as teenage girls, of the need to avoid an unintended pregnancy during adolescence. If I were Jack is currently under further evaluation through a feasibility trial in Northern Ireland and is being rolled out in schools in Ireland through the Department of Education and Skills. An Australian version If I were Ben is being used in South Australia. 


Members of the If I Were Jack project team at the second stakeholders' meeting in September 2012

Left to Right: Peter O'Halloran (Research Team, QUB); Kathryn Gilbert (Project Partner, CCEA); Bernadette Cullen (Project Partner, PHA); Orla McGowan (Project Partner, HSE CCP); Joanna Gregg (Project Partner, BHSCT); Carmel Kelly (Research Team, QUB); Maria Lohan (Research Team, QUB);  Áine Aventin (Research Team, QUB);  Naresh Chada (Project Partner, DHSSPS)

  If I Were Jack Project Team at second stakeholders meeting 20.09.2012   

Inspiring new research and interventions to address young people’s health

The cornerstone of the If I were Jack intervention is the translation of qualitative research into a film script and the shooting of an interactive video drama to situate health issues into the context of young people’s lives. The interactive elements help to encourage episodic future thinking – an exercise of the imagination to encourage young people to put themselves into the shoes of someone experiencing the problem in order to work through for themselves how they would think, act and feel and develop strategies to avoid crisis situations or avoid endangering their health.

Our resource has directly inspired a research team at University of British Columbia to develop an intervention to also address young people’s marijuana use. Cycles website link