Program

Preventive Alcohol Education Program

OVERVIEW

The Preventive
Alcohol Education Program was designed to reduce alcohol use and abuse among
adolescents. The Program operated by providing high school students with the
knowledge and skills to understand and, in turn, refuse peer pressures
concerning drinking. The intervention was implemented in school over a brief
period of time and targeted ninth graders. The Preventive Alcohol Education
Program has been evaluated to assess the effects up to three years after
program completion. Results are quite promising in the short-term. It appears
that the program’s impact is not sustainable in the
long-term, however, the long-term analyses are
undermined by sample loss.

DESCRIPTION OF
PROGRAM

Target population: Ninth grade students
The Preventive Alcohol Education Program was designed in
1981 based on McGuire’s Theory of Attitude
Inoculation. This theory contends that if people, in this case high school
students, can be made aware of potential threats or attacks, such as drinking
pressures, they will be better able to combat them. The Program utilizes
components of inoculation theory to forewarn high school students about alcohol
and pro-alcohol persuasion and thus prevent them from engaging in risky
drinking behaviors. To achieve this goal, the Program relies on a four-stage
model. The first stage provides students with knowledge and information
concerning the effects of alcohol. It also teaches adolescents about various
types of peer pressure and persuasive techniques that may be used to advocate
drinking and drinking-related behaviors. In the second stage, students practice
refuting potential scenarios. Stage three provides students with instructor feedback
on students’ newly acquired skills. Finally, in stage four, students receive
booster activities to reinforce the Program. Examples of program “boosters”
include school posters or school-wide activities that promote lessons learned.

The Program is implemented in school classrooms and runs for
six days. Sessions are held for approximately one hour a day and are taught by
classroom teachers. Prior to implementation, teachers receive one day of
training. Each of the four stages outlined above involves some variation of
films, question and answer sessions, slide shows, role-playing and teacher
assessments/feedback.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Study 1: Duryea, E., Mohr, P., Newman, I.M., Martin,
G.L., & Egwaoje, E. (1984). Six-month follow-up
results of a preventive alcohol education intervention. Journal of Drug
Education, 14
(2), 97-104.

Evaluated population: 9th grade
students in a parochial school in Nebraska.
All ninth grade students (n=155) at a parochial school were initially selected
to participate in the evaluation.

Approach: The evaluation was conducted one week after
program completion, and again six months later. Students were randomly assigned
to one of four conditions: two experimental groups and two control groups.

Students were evaluated using written questionnaires to
assess the following: knowledge on the effects of alcohol; ability to refute
pro-drinking arguments; tendency to comply with pressures; attitudes toward
drinking and driving; frequency of self-reported drinking; frequency of
self-reported riding with drunk drivers.

Results:One week after program completion, students
in the experimental group reported significantly more knowledge on alcohol
effects, better ability to refute pro-drinking pressures, and lower rates of
compliance when compared to the control group (p<.01). Experimental group
students were also less likely to report riding in cars with drunk drivers
(p<.01). No significant differences were found between the control and
experimental groups on measures of attitudes toward drinking or on the
frequency of self-reported drinking.

At the six-month evaluation, analyses were completed for
those students with available pre-test and post-test data (n=83). Attrition,
school absences, and student transfers were responsible for the smaller sample
size. The remaining 37 experimental group students and 46 control group
students were evaluated on measures of knowledge, refutation, and compliance.
Students received a mean knowledge score based on their responses to seven
multiple-choice questions. Students in the experimental group had a
significantly higher mean knowledge score than those in the control group
(p<.0001). Furthermore, the mean knowledge score within the experimental
group increased significantly from pre-test to the six-month follow-up
(p<.0001). The control group did not experience significant gains.

The refutation measure was derived by evaluating students’
written ability to contest nine pro-drinking arguments. Two independent raters
evaluated and scored each of the students’ nine arguments, resulting in 18
total scores per student. Researchers averaged the raters’ scores within
arguments to provide each student with nine argument scores. Finally, the nine
scores were averaged to produce a summary refutation score used in analyses.
Analyses revealed that the experimental group had a significantly higher mean
refutation score at six months, when compared to the control group
(p<.0005). Although the average refutation score for the control group
decreased from pre-test to six months, the average score for the experimental
group was found to increase significantly during the same time period
(p<.0001).

Compliance scores were derived by averaging students’
responses to four hypothetical drinking scenarios. Again, the experimental
group continued to score significantly better than the control group. The
experimental group mean compliance score was found to increase significantly
from pre-test to six months (p<.05), while the control group’s
score actually decreased significantly (p<.0005).

One limitation to the evaluation is that the assessments are
based on hypothetical scenarios and may not be representative of students’
behavior in actual situations.

Study 2: Duryea, E.J, & Okwumabua,
J.O. (1988). Effects of a preventive alcohol education program after three
years. Journal of Drug Education, 18(1), 23-31.

Evaluated population: Students who were in
9th grade in a parochial school in Nebraska at the time of the intervention.
Originally, all ninth grade students (n=155) at a parochial school were
initially selected to participate in the evaluation. One hundred and thirty students in the original
sample were evaluated (n=91 experimental; n=39 control) for the follow-up.

Approach: This evaluation took place three years
after the intervention, when the students were in 11th grade.
Students completed anonymous questionnaires that assessed the frequency of
riding with drunk drivers; frequency of drinking; frequency of drinking “too
much”; and two cognitive measures that evaluated students’ perceptions
regarding alcohol tolerance.

Results: On average, the three-year evaluation
revealed low levels of risk behaviors among all students. Unexpectedly, control
group students reported that they were less likely to drink “too much” when
compared to the experimental group (p=.05). All other measures were nonsignificant suggesting that short-term impact of the
program was not sustained over time. However, the low follow-up rate for
students in the control group relative to the experimental group undermined the
certainty of these findings.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Duryea, E., Mohr, P., Newman, I.M.,
Martin, G.L., & Egwaoje, E. (1984).
Six-month follow-up results of a preventive alcohol education intervention. Journal
of Drug Education, 14
(2), 97-104.

Duryea, E.J, & Okwumabua,
J.O. (1988). Effects of a preventive alcohol education program after
three years. Journal of Drug Education, 18(1), 23-31.

Program also discussed in the following Child Trends publication(s):

KEYWORDS: High School, Adolescence (12-17), School-based,
Social and Emotional Health and Development, Substance Use, Alcohol Use,
Education, Skills Training, Drinking and Driving.

Program information last updated
5/7/2006.


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