The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5146.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 2:30 PM

Abstract #35350

Evaluating a life skills drug education program: 2-year outcomes

Marvin B. Eisen, PhD, Population Studies Center, The Urban Institute, 2100 M Street, N.W, Washington, DC 20037, 202-261-5858,, Gail L. Zellman, PhD, RAND, 1700 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90407, and David M. Murray, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, 202 Psychology Building, Memphis, TN 38152-3230.

We randomized 34 schools (n=7426 consented sixth-graders, 71% of eligible population) in three metro areas to a treatment or a control condition to test the hypothesis that an abbreviated version of "Skills for Adolescence (SFA)" delivered in seventh grade is more effective than standard care in deterring/delaying substance use through middle school. SFA is used widely across the country but has never been subject to a formal evaluation. Changes in lifetime and recent use (last 30 days) of five substances were compared by mixed model regression to control for school clustering and sixth-grade baseline rates. There was significantly lower "lifetime" (P<0.05, two-tailed) and "recent" (P<0.03) marijuana use reported in SFA than in control schools. There was also a significant treatment-by-baseline binge drinking interaction: fewer baseline bingers in SFA continued to do so by the end of eighth grade, while no treatment effect was reported for baseline non-bingers. There were also no treatment effects for lifetime or recent cigarette smoking. These two-year posttest results provide evidence that SFA helped delay or deter self-reported marijuana use and binge drinking, but not cigarette use. They offer support for the effectiveness of SFA, a commercial product, and more generally for life skills approaches to drug-use prevention. These findings also provide a further step in bridging a major gap in the “research to practice” literature: theory-based interventions that have documented behavioral effects have not enjoyed large-scale implementation, while intuition-based programs that have no documented effects continue to enjoy wide implementation (e.g., DARE).

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Evaluation, Drug Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Quest International (a non-profit educational foundation)
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

New Initiatives in Prevention

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA