Online Program

Service learning as a prevention strategy for alcohol use among adolescents

Monday, November 4, 2013

Joni Roberts, DrPH, CHES, School of Health Related Professions, Department of Health Science, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS
Gary Hopkins, MD, DrPH, Institute for Prevention of Addidtions, Department of Behavioral Science, Andrews University, Post Falls, ID
Peter Gleason, Ph.D., School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Duane C. McBride, PhD, Behavioral Science Department, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI
Introduction: Adolescent alcohol abuse is a major Public Health issue today. While there are many strategies to address this problem, research indicates that community service or service learning may be a significant prevention strategy. Service learning has shown to have many positive effects in adolescents. Students who participated in service learning were more likely to engage in “healthy behaviors” such as eating nutritious meals, less likely to skip school and express positive attitudes towards self and others. However, there are no studies reporting relationships between service learning and alcohol use among the adolescent samples. Methods: Responses were anonymously obtained via Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) questionnaires from a sample of youth ages 14-18 (males, n=3975; females, n=4158) from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Nevada.

Results: Using the YRBS tool developed by the Center for Disease Control, we looked at community service and alcohol use questions to assess relationships between service learning and alcohol use. Logistic regression analysis, reported that after adjusting for sex, age and ethnicity adolescents who engaged in 1 hour or more of community service per month were less likely to use alcohol (OR = 0.85, 0.89, 0.84 and 0.85) in each state respectively.

Conclusions: The analysis indicates that there is a significant relationship between service learning and alcohol use, after controlling for demographic variables. Students who engage in one hour or more of community service per month are less likely to engage in alcohol use behaviors.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify effective prevention strategies for substance use among adolescents. Define the link between service learning and alcohol use. Discuss service learning as a prevention strategy for alcohol use.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have have taught in schools systems nationally and internationally for five years and have worked extensively with youth for the past ten years. I have a Master's of Arts in Teaching - Elementary Education and am currently pursuing a Doctorate of Public Health in Health Education and Promotion.
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.