The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4234.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 5:10 PM

Abstract #44732

Fidelity of implementation of evidence-based substance use prevention programs

Susan T. Ennett, PhD1, Chris Ringwalt, DrPH2, Judy Thorne, PhD3, Louise Rohrbach, PhD4, Amy Vincus, MPH5, Ashley Simons-Rudolph, BA5, and Shelton Jones, MS6. (1) Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB#7440 Rosenau Hall, School of Public Health-UNC CH, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7440, (919) 966-9207,, (2) Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 104 S. Estes Drive, Suite 206, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, (3) Westat, 1009 Slater Road, Suite 110, Durham, NC 27703, (4) School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 1540 Alcazar Street, CHP 206D, Los Angeles, CA 90033, (5) Health, Social, and Economic Research, Research Triangle Institute, 3040 Cornwallis Rd, PO Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194, (6) Statistics Research Division, Research Triangle Institute, 3040 Cornwallis Rd., PO Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

As evidence-based prevention programs move from the research environment to the real world, the fidelity of their implementation is jeopardized. In our national study of middle school-based substance use prevention practice (SSUPPS) (N=1905), we showed that approximately one-quarter of lead staff who taught substance use prevention are using an evidence-based curriculum, such as Project ALERT and Life-Skills Training, indicating substantial dissemination of these programs. In this paper, we assess the extent to which evidence-based curricula are being implemented as intended, and examine school and teacher characteristics that may be associated with implementation fidelity. To assess implementation, we asked providers a series of questions concerning the content they emphasized (e.g., refusal skills, social influences knowledge) and the delivery methods they used (e.g., role plays, lectures). We compared their responses against standards for best practices in substance use prevention curriculum content and delivery methods that we derived from the seminal meta-analytic studies of Tobler and colleagues. Results showed that fewer than one-third met these standards; although low, the percentage is significantly higher than for those providers not teaching an evidence-based curriculum. Both school and teacher characteristics were significantly associated with meeting the standards. Most notably, providers who were recently trained, reported comfort in using interactive delivery methods, and were in a school with a positive climate were more likely to implement curricula in accordance with these standards. Results suggest that teachers and schools need resources and support if evidence-based programs are to be implemented as intended and thus to achieve maximal effectiveness.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, the participant will be able to

Keywords: School-Based Programs, Substance Abuse Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
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.

School-Based Substance Use Prevention Programs Study: Findings about Fidelity of Implementation

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA