CHOICE is a voluntary after-school program for middle-school aged adolescents aimed to reduce individual and school-level alcohol use. A cluster randomized evaluation in 16 schools found that students in the CHOICE schools were significantly less likely to have used alcohol, compared with students in the control schools.
DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM
Target population: Middle school students
As a voluntary after-school alcohol and drug prevention program, CHOICE is delivered once per week after school on a set day when teens with permission can choose to attend. The program includes enhancing protective factors and reducing risk factors targeting multiple substances; utilizing interactive techniques that allow active involvement in learning about problems from substance use, such as discussion of normative feedback or engaging in role plays; reinforcing skills; and providing information in a nonjudgmental and nonconfrontational manner. CHOICE consists of five distinct 30 minute sessions that rotate throughout the entire school year. The program is based on Social Learning Theory, Decision-Making Theory and Self-Efficacy Theory. In particular, the CHOICE program provides normative information based on Monitoring the Future statistics, an approach that has been used successfully in several interventions with adolescents. CHOICE also uses a motivational interviewing approach to present the program curriculum. Sessions focus on providing normative feedback on alcohol and marijuana use among middle-school aged youth, challenging unrealistic beliefs about substances, resisting pressure to use substances through the use of role play, discussing potential benefits of both cutting down and stopping use and discussing risky situations and coping strategies.
EVALUATION OF PROGRAM
D'Amico, E.J., Tucker, J.S., Miles, J.N.V., Zhou, A.J., Shih, R.A., Green, H.D. (2012). Preventing alcohol use with a voluntary after-school program for middle school students: Results from a cluster randomized controlled trial of CHOICE.
Evaluated Population: The study sample consisted 9,828 students across 16 middle schools in Southern California. Baseline data were available for 8,932 students and indicated that the control group sample was 50 percent female, 14 percent non-Hispanic White, 3 percent non-Hispanic African American, 50 percent Hispanic, 16 percent Asian, and 3 percent other. The sample receiving the intervention was 51 percent female, 17 percent non-Hispanic White, 4 percent non-Hispanic African American, 52 percent Hispanic, 17 percent Asian, and 10% other.
Approach: Schools were matched and randomly assigned to receive CHOICE or the control condition. CHOICE was delivered once per week after school on a set day when teens with parental permission could choose to attend. CHOICE consists of five distinct 30 minute sessions that rotate throughout the entire school year. Adolescents could choose to attend as many of the five sessions as they wanted.
Baseline surveys were completed between late September and early October of 2008, with follow-up surveys completed between late May and early June 2009. Measures included: lifetime alcohol use, past month alcohol use, heavy drinking in past month, perceived alcohol use among other students in the school, alcohol intentions, and resistance self-efficacy (to alcohol).
Results: A statistically significant impact was found for alcohol use (specifically, lifetime alcohol use net of baseline lifetime use) results for lifetime alcohol use, and marginally significant impact on past month alcohol use. Examination of school-wide impacts indicated that rates of consumption and intensions to use alcohol were also significantly lower in CHOICE schools compared with control schools. There were no impacts on alcohol intentions, perceived alcohol use, or resistance self-efficacy.
SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION
D’Amico, E.J., Tucker, J.S., Miles, J.N.V., Zhou, A.J., Shih, R.A., Green, H.D. (2012). Preventing alcohol use with a voluntary after-school program for middle school students: Results from a cluster randomized controlled trial of CHOICE. Prevention Science, Online First™, 7 February 2012.
KEYWORDS: Adolescents, white/Caucasian, Black/African American, Hispanic/ Latino, Asian, after-school program, alcohol use, males and females
Program information last updated on 05/31/2012