206177 Unofficial Rules of Adolescence: A Health Promotion Tool for Changing Community Social Norms

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Scott Frank , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Kristina Knight, MPH , Master of Public Health Program, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Background: Adolescence is a developmental stage characterized by suboptimal decisions associated with unintentional injuries, violence, substance abuse, and unsafe sexual behavior. Traditional explanations for adolescent behavior do not adequately explain the extent and nature of change occurring in adolescence. Purpose: The Unofficial Rules of Adolescence (and of Parenting Adolescents) curriculum describes the unwritten, implicit “laws” that must be coped with to survive adolescence. The Rules represent expectations of peers and society that may be coped with in healthy or unhealthy ways. Methods: The Rules were developed as a component of a Community Anti-Drug Coalition with input from teens, parents, and experts to influence community social norms. Evaluation includes an extensive qualitative approach; process and session specific evaluation; and surveillance of risk behavior from 2002 through 2008. Surveillance activities have informed development of the model and are used to evaluate its effectiveness. Results: The Rules are: Fitting in; Trying On; Trying Out; Looking Good; Getting Over; Getting Mine; Getting Some; and Getting Out. The Unofficial Rules of Parenting Adolescents describe the balance that parents must maintain to effectively support their teens: Holding On; Letting Go; Butting In; Butting Out; Shoring Up; Holding Down; Staying Open; and Standing Firm. Each Rule is reviewed for meaning and options for healthy coping. Programming is associated with significant population changes in perceived parental disapproval, perceived risk of harm, and student substance use. Conclusion: The Unofficial Rules of Adolescence (and of Parenting Adolescents) represent a robust approach to health promotion for adolescents, parents, and youth-linked professionals.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the value of using adolescent culture as an approach to changing social norms regarding adolescent behavior. 2. Discuss the role of local youth health risk data in in the development health promotion programming. 3. Identify methods to evaluate a health promotion program developed in a community coalition.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Substance Abuse Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Developed the program; Co-Chair of Community Coalition; Director, MPH Program
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.