A multiple-case study of intersectoral collaboration in comprehensive school health promotion using the DIagnosis of Sustainable Collaboration (DISC) model

K.K. Pucher*, M.J.J.M. Candel, N.M.W.M. Boot, A.J.A. van Raak, N.K. de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose - Intersectoral collaboration is often a prerequisite for effective interventions in public health. The purpose of this paper is to assess the facilitating and hindering conditions regarding intersectoral collaboration between health authorities, public health services (PHSs), public services stakeholders (PPSs) and the education sector in comprehensive school health promotion (CSHP) in the Netherlands.

Design/methodology/approach - CSHP collaborations in five Dutch regions were studied using a questionnaire based on the DIagnosis of Sustainable Collaboration (DISC) model, focusing on: change management; perceptions, intentions and actions of collaborating parties; project organization; and factors in the wider context. Univariate and multivariate analyses with bootstrapping were applied to 106 respondents (62 percent response).

Findings - A similar pattern of facilitating and hindering conditions emerged for the five regions, showing positive perceptions, but fewer positive intentions and actions. An overall favorable internal and external context for collaboration was found, but limited by bureaucratic procedures and prioritizing stakeholders' own organizational goals. Change management was rarely applied. Some differences between sectors emerged, with greatest support for collaboration found among the coordinating organizations (PHSs) and least support among the financing organization (municipalities).

Research limitations/implications - The generalization of the findings is limited to the initial formation stage of collaboration, and may be affected by selection bias, small sample size and possible impact of interdepartmental collaboration within organizations.

Practical implications - The authors recommend establishing stronger change management to facilitate translation of positive perceptions into intentions and actions, and coordination of divergent organizational structures and orientations among collaborating parties.

Originality/value - The results show that it is valuable for collaborating parties to conduct DISC analyses to improve intersectoral collaboration in CSHP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-321
Number of pages21
JournalHealth Education
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Healthy schools
  • Management
  • Collaboration
  • School health promotion
  • Public health
  • CARE

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