Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), non-randomised controlled trials, controlled before-and-after trials and interrupted time series that reported learning and behaviour outcomes related to first aid training of laypersons for bleeding, shock, wounds injuries, poisoning, stroke, chest pain, asthmatic attacks, epileptic seizures and diabetic crisis were eligible for inclusion. A layperson was defined as someone who had never received formal health care education. Studies on patient education or of training for health care students and professionals were excluded. First aid was defined as immediate help provided to a suddenly ill or injured person until that person recovered or medical care was available. Studies on effects of informal learning activities such as mass media campaigns were excluded. Studies that focused only on basic life support or use of automated external defribillators were excluded. Primary outcomes of interest included measures of helping behaviour in real situations (including deception experiments). Secondary outcomes included measures of learning gains in knowledge and skills.
Included studies assessed parents of young children, primary schools pupils, university first aid programme participants and university students. Interventions targeted first aid training for poisons, bleeding, injuries, burns, shock and wounds and focused on inhibitors of emergency helping behaviour. Interventions were delivered via educational classes, videos/films and training sessions. Outcomes were assessed in written and oral tests and during deception experiments on helping behaviour.
Two reviewers independently assessed studies for inclusion; disagreements were resolved through discussion.