The «feelok» project and intervention
The most important aspects of the feelok project and intervention are presented below.
  A multi-dimensional intervention is an internet programme for adolescents aged 12 to 18 aiming to promote health and well-being. Eleven topics are covered in feelok: alcohol, occupation, physical activity, cannabis, nutrition, love and sexuality, smoking, self-confidence and self-esteem, stress and suicide.

  A multi-institutional intervention
feelok is a multi-institutional intervention, i.e. institutions that are renowned for their expertise in the respective field are responsible for the quality, evidence-based content and update of the programme on their topic. The partners are given a login and password which enables them to update the modules themselves.

Several institutions support the dissemination of the intervention in various settings. Others provide financial support for the project or selected objectives. Some institutions conduct evaluation studies on certain aspects of feelok. The Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Zurich is responsible for the co-ordination and evaluation of the intervention project as a whole and provides support to the partner institutions. The list of partner institutions can be found under

This multi-institutional approach brings several advantages …

… for the schools
  • Schools increasingly have to respond to various requests related to health promotion and prevention from a range of institutions. feelok offers them an intervention encompassing 11 health topics. These are divided into 54 modules. All modules follow the same technology, learning frame, procedure and design. Therefore, teachers only need to learn the functions of one module and are then able to work through all the other modules with their class as well.
  • feelok is complemented by a range of teaching materials to be used in class, thus facilitating the teachers’ lesson planning.
  • Each feelok programme is backed up by professional support from a renowned institution. Should teachers wish to deal with a certain topic more in depth, they can get in contact with the respective institution through feelok.
  • The institutions warrant that the content of the feelok programmes is of a high quality, based on scientific evidence and up to date. This is an important criterion for schools to choose feelok for use with their students.
  … for the adolescents
  • Through feelok, the adolescents have a reliable source of information about health-related topics, which can be relevant to themselves, their friends or family members.
  • The information is presented in a language and format suited to adolescents with differing degrees of knowledge and a variety of interests. The programme includes not only texts but also interactive elements such as games, animations, assistants, videos etc. It thus caters for youths who do not like reading or have difficulties reading long texts as well.
  • Being linked with and the professional support database, feelok provides adolescents with contact details of offices where they can get professional support.
  … for the institutions (feelok partners)
  • Through feelok the institutions are given an additional opportunity to place their health promotion issues in the school setting at minimal effort and cost.
  • The institutions are integrated into a well functioning network of partners and can thus benefit from synergies and avoid overlap.
  • feelok partners have access to the results of various studies that evaluate the use and effectiveness of health promotion tools integrated in feelok.
  • The partners can disseminate information about their institution and products through feelok information channels such as the newsletter.
  • Tasks are divided among the partners. Through this strategy, the cost and effort for each contributor is reduced considerably.
  … for feelok
  • Through the multi-institutional concept the cost for the development of new programmes and modules is being reduced as existing management tools can be used for programme extensions and experiences gained are shared.
  • The dissemination of the programme is enhanced through joint efforts where each partner has to make a small contribution only.
  • feelok as it is today can only exist as a multi-institutional product. No single institution is able to develop such a complex intervention. Several co-ordinated institutions, however, can provide this service.
  An evidence-based intervention

Various aspects of the feelok project and intervention formed the basis of scientific studies. Reports on the following studies have been published to date:

  • A needs assessment to investigate whether the schools are interested in such an Internet programme as feelok and if so what characteristics it should have (year 1999)
  • A review of the use of the Transtheoretical Model of change in relation to stress and smoking including the question whether this model is suitable as a theoretical framework for an Internet-based intervention (year 2001)
  • The effectiveness study of the cannabis programme (year 2004)
  • An analysis of the feelok user behaviour (year 2004)
  • An evaluation of the effectiveness of the dissemination strategies used to promote feelok (year 2005)
  • An assessment of the acceptance of the feelok design (year 2006)
  • An evaluation of the feasibility of the feelok work sheets (year 2006)
  • A comprehensive analysis of the profile of feelok users (year 2006)
  • A quantitative analysis of the reasons for and against the use of feelok and the way feelok is being used conducted in the school setting, including an appraisal of the intervention and of the potential of various dissemination strategies. This study also assessed the health-related behaviour of the respondents (year 2007).
  • A qualitative analysis of the teachers’ use of feelok at school (year 2008).
  All reports, abstracts, publications and summaries can be downloaded free of charge under «». Reports are in German, other documents are predominantly written in English.
  The adolescents’ opinion about feelok
The acceptance of feelok among adolescents is of particular interest. Several studies evaluated this aspect using various methods. The results consistently point in the same direction: Nearly 80% of the youths appraise the content of feelok as interesting and the texts as easy to understand. They appreciate that the intervention covers different topics. Over 70% say it is easy to navigate through the website despite the breadth of topics being covered. About two-thirds plan to visit feelok again if the topics of the website become relevant to them and would recommend feelok to friends if they are looking for information which is covered by feelok.
A school-based intervention

feelok is particularly suitable for use at schools. A handbook as well as numerous worksheets facilitate its use in class. The content is not only presented in plain text but also with the help of various teaching approaches. Games, animations, tests, discussion forum, videos and assistants thus add a high degree of variety to the programme. feelok is therefore a suitable tool not only for adolescents who are able to understand complex information but also for those who find it difficult to read long texts.

  A transnational intervention

There is a Swiss version ( as well as an Austrian version ( of feelok. The institutions responsible for each version co-operate closely to benefit from synergies and make optimal use of the resources available: and share the same design, structure, tools, technology and database. Yet each website presents the content in a culturally adapted version to cater for the differing needs of the target groups. Some of the advertising material is shared between the two countries and the management of a common platform fosters the exchange of experience.

  The profile of feelok users
Several studies conducted to analyse the feelok user behaviour show the same pattern: feelok is predominantly being used by adolescents aged 12 to 18 (75%) and somewhat more by girls (60%) than boys. The majority (60%) of the users got to know feelok at school. Further information about the profile of feelok users can be found in the German report entitled "Erfassung des Profils der feelok-Besucher/innen - Von den methodologischen Überlegungen zu den Ergebnissen" [Analysis of the profile of feelok users - From methodological considerations to the results] which can be downloaded under
  A frequently used website
The number of visits to the feelok website is increasing consistently. In September 2003 about 400 visits per day were recorded. In the year 2008 the number of daily visits fluctuates between 1000 and 1300.
  The dissemination strategies
A range of strategies is being used to reach the adolescents for whom the health-based content of feelok is relevant.

The programme is being promoted in various settings where young people can be found, primarily at school but also in sports clubs and other leisure-based settings. Some adolescents seek advice in professional counselling centres thus feelok also is present there.

Different professionals operate as mediators in these settings. To promote the use of feelok in schools, for instance, we work with teachers and the head masters or head mistresses. Youth workers, sports coaches and boys/girls scouts leaders are mediators in leisure-based settings. To reach these mediators, a variety of channels are being used. In the school field for example, we collaborate with the universities offering teacher education courses and with a network of school-based federations. Youth and Sports and Swiss Olympics are the institutions of choice to reach mediators in sports clubs. The measures and instruments used to disseminate feelok among the mediators can be grouped into 5 categories:
  1. The workshop
    Working with the programme directly, teachers learn all about the set up and functioning of the programme and try out methods to use it with their students. In this way, barriers towards the use of the programme are reduced and the probability of it being implemented in the school setting increases.
  2. Dissemination of advertising materials
    Teachers and adolescents learn about the existence and characteristics of feelok through advertising materials such as leaflets or brochures for teachers and students.
  3. Networks, projects and institutions
    Other projects and institutions target the same group and mediators. By sharing existing channels, the target group can be reached on a wider scale with few resources.
  4. Working with the media
    The co-operation with the media includes measures such as: the linking up with other websites -school-based or other- and the publication of articles about feelok in newsletters and journals or through the schools’ information channels.
  5. Talks and presentations
    feelok is repeatedly being presented to a large audience during national and international events. Among the audience are typically researchers, teachers or counsellors.
  For an Internet-based programme like feelok, it is also important that it can be found easily through search machines such as «Google». If you enter the keyword smoking (in German) under «», feelok appears in the first as well as second position of results (as per end of August 2008). Two strategies have helped achieving this favourable positioning:
  • Consideration of the criteria Google uses to rank websites, i.e. the keyword has to take on a prominent position in the title as well as the text.
  • Linking a range of other websites with the smoking prevention programme of feelok: The more links there are, the higher up your website will appear in the ranking of the search machine.
  Two different approaches can be chosen to disseminate feelok:
  • Specific topics or tools can be promoted (e.g. sport, nutrition or alcohol).
  • The programme can be promoted as an entity.
  The first as well as the second approach will help disseminating the whole programme as people will automatically see all topics offered through feelok once they enter the website. Users can then revisit the programme if they become interested in one of the other topics presented in feelok.
  The budget
Between 1999 and 2008 feelok was financially supported by 5 institutions. These are the Cancer League of Zurich, the Baugarten-Foundation, the Swiss Network for Education and Health (Federal Office of Public Health), the Tobacco Control Fund, the Vontobel-Foundation and the Jubilee-Foundation of Credit Suisse. Over this period of nearly 10 years, 2 million CHF - corresponding to about 1.25 million Euro - were invested in feelok.