Program

Nov 08, 2011

OVERVIEW

The Peer
Intervention Program is a school-based program, integrated into a high school
driver education course. Students are empowered to intervene in the drinking
and driving behavior of their peers by learning about risks associated with such
behavior, as well as the skills and beliefs to feel comfortable taking such
action. An experimental evaluation of the program compared the peer
intervention approach with a conventional alcohol education. The study found
that in terms of peer intervention behavior, both groups made significant
positive gains, with no difference between groups at post-test. However, only
the treatment group maintained these gains through the follow-up, at which point
a significant difference did exist, indicating that the treatment group was more
likely to engage in intervention behavior with peers compared with the control
group. There were significant gains in terms of knowledge for both the
treatment and control groups that were maintained at the follow-up at the end of
the semester 1 to 4 months later, but no significant differences existed between
groups at either time. Significant favorable changes in attitudes were also
found for the treatment group at post-test, and a significant difference existed
between groups. A significant difference in attitudes was also present at
follow-up, although the gains made by the treatment group were no longer
significant.

DESCRIPTION OF
PROGRAM

Target
Population:
Students enrolled in driver’s education

The intervention consists of a nine-hour program,
integrated into high school driver’s education classes. One hour of the program
is dedicated to an information presentation that focuses on basic alcohol
safety. This portion consists of four main topics: 1) how alcohol works and its
effect on one’s ability to drive, 2) risks of drinking and driving and the
relationship between drinking and driving and accidents, 3) methods to keep
drinking and driving separate, and 4) methods to control drinking. The other
eight hours of the program are spent learning techniques for intervening in
drinking/driving situations, through role playing. Previously prepared scenes
and roles are first given to the students to act out, but students eventually
create their own scenes for role play. Student discussion is encouraged
throughout and role-playing activities are designed to teach that intervention
is possible and students can feel comfortable in that role.

EVALUATION OF
PROGRAM

Evaluated
population:
Participants consisted of 667 students enrolled in driver
education in five Rhode Island high schools. (Race/ethnicity, socioeconomic
status, and gender composition of the sample were not detailed in the published
article.)

Approach: Participants were randomly assigned to
either the treatment (N=334) or control group (N=333). Students in the control
condition received regular alcohol instruction based on the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration’s “You…Alcohol and Driving.” The program was also
conducted as part of a driver education course and lasted an equivalent amount
of time.

To measure the effectiveness of the program, data were
collected on knowledge of alcohol safety, attitudes towards alcohol, and
self-reported intervention behavior in situations with alcohol. All data were
collected at baseline, immediately following program administration, and at a
follow-up at the end of the semester (1 to 4 months depending on when the
intervention program concluded), and change from the pretest score was assessed
at each time.

Results: For
the knowledge measures, while both the intervention and control groups made
statistically significant gains that were maintained at follow-up, there were no
significant differences between the groups at either the post-test or
follow-up. For attitudes, the peer intervention group had significantly
favorable changes in attitudes towards alcohol at post-test, compared with the
control group (i.e., the intervention group experienced significant gains, while
the control group did not). Although there were no significant differences
between schools, a significant interaction between treatment and schools did
exist, suggesting that gains made by the treatment program for attitudes are
dependent upon the school in which it is administered. At follow-up, a
favorable significant difference did still exist favoring the treatment over the
control group, but the difference was not due to gains in the treatment group,
which were no longer significant but were found because the control group showed
a significant decline over time.

In terms of
intervention behavior, both the treatment and control groups showed significant
gains at post-test, with no significant differences existing between groups.
However, the control group did not maintain the improvement at follow-up, while
the treatment group did, and a statistically significant difference did exist
between groups. There was no significant interaction between schools and
treatment at post-test or follow-up.

SOURCES FOR MORE
INFORMATION

References

McKnight, A.J. &
McPherson, K. (1986). Evaluation of peer intervention training for high school
alcohol safety education. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 18(4),
339-347

KEYWORDS:
Adolescents, Youth, High School, Males and Females (Co-Ed), School-Based, Skills
Training, Alcohol Use, Other Safety

Program
information last updated 11/8/11

 

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