237923 Exploring the relationship between youth assets and substance use among rural youths: An empirical process for community based prevention planning

Monday, October 31, 2011: 8:30 AM

Michael Vimont, PhD MSSW , Social Work Department, Ashland University, Ashland, OH
Communities across the United States are challenged with the task of transforming youths into healthy, productive adults. Youths using alcohol, tobacco and marijuana compromise this goal. Prevention efforts by social workers and other helping professions have traditionally used a deficit reduction strategy targeting only those youths already involved in, or viewed as being at-risk for engaging in risky behaviors. An alternate strategy, positive youth development, has gone largely untapped by the social work profession. This alternate strategy requires the capacity to measure developmental youth assets. Located in the domains of community, family, school, and peer groups as well as within individuals; youths assets are theorized to assist in preventing youths in engaging in high-risk behavior such as substance use. In order to use empirical information to help guide prevention practices communities must have a way to measure youth assets, and have at their disposal localized research studies specifically addressing the relationship between developmental assets and substance use. The Youth Asset Survey (YAS) developed by the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center has the capacity to meet this need for measurement, and with it the capacity for social workers engaged as community planners to build effective strategies to address at-risk behaviors in youths. The study to be presented tests the theoretical concepts related to developmental youth assets, and provides a practice perspective on its results through a survey administered to over 2000 youths from three school districts located in a rural county in northeast Ohio.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Differentiate between deficit reduction and positive youth development as a strategy to address at-risk behaviors in adolescents. Describe the Youth Asset Survey as a tool to measure assets. Evaluate the validity and reliability of the Youth Asset Survey. Discuss practice implications regarding results of a local study.

Keywords: Substance Abuse Prevention, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the Evaluator for the Family and Children First Council of Wayne County (Ohio). I am also an assistant professor at Ashland Univerity with a targeted research interest in primary prevention efforts with adolescents.
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.