Program

Feb 09, 2007

OVERVIEW

The Protecting
You/Protecting Me (PY/PM) program is designed to educate elementary school
students about alcohol and vehicle safety. The program uses a peer
teaching system called PAL, Peer Assistance and Leadership, to present
elementary school students with information on the following 8 topics: Our
Brain, Growth and Development, Health and Safety, Rules and Laws, Friends,
Choices and Decisions, Media Awareness, and Communication. Four sites in Texas participated, with
a classroom in each site randomly selected to receive the treatment and the
other to serve as the control group. The evaluation below finds that the
PY/PM program was effective in increasing awareness about vehicle safety, brain
development, and media literacy. The program also reduced children’s
intentions to ride with impaired drivers.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Elementary school
children in grades 1 through 5

PY/PM teaches children about the risks of alcohol and the
importance of vehicle safety through a peer tutoring system. The peer
tutors are recruited from high school PAL programs. They receive training
for two and one half days about classroom management and the PY/PM
curriculum. Then, in pairs, they lead 8-10 weekly lessons about
development, vehicle safety, and alcohol. Lessons are 20-60 minutes long
and the curriculum is designed to be taught over approximately 2 months of a
school year. The evaluation measured knowledge, attitudes, intentions,
and skills related to alcohol use and related issues, but did not measure
actually substance use, due to the age of participants.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Bohman, T. M., Barker, E. D., Bell, M. L., Lewis, C. M., Holleran, L.,
& Pomeroy, E. (2004). Early intervention for alcohol use prevention
and vehicle safety skills: Evaluating the Protecting You/Protecting Me
curriculum. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 14(1),17-40.

Evaluated population: 259 students in grades 3-5 from
four Texas
elementary and intermediate school sites. Classes were randomly selected
with one class from each school selected for the treatment and another selected
to be the control group. Bilingual classes were excluded due to the
majority of instruction taking place in Spanish. Students were 54% Anglo, 15%
African-American, 20% Hispanic, and 12% other ethnicities.

Approach: Eight classrooms from 4 different sites in Texas were randomly
assigned to receive the PY/PM intervention or the control treatment, which
consisted of normal classroom instruction and no intervention. Grades 1-5
were initially assigned, but surveys from grades 1 and 2 were incompatible with
those from grades 3-5; therefore only grades 3-5 were included in this
evaluation. Students from local high school classes participating in the
PAL peer helper program were recruited to teach the program. High school
students received instruction on the PY/PM curriculum, brain information and
research, effective teaching techniques, lesson demonstrations, practice
teaching of lessons, classroom management techniques, data collection
procedures, and survey administration. The high school students then
taught 20-60 minute sessions of PY/PM once a week for a total of 8-10 weeks to
children in the intervention group. Children were tested pre and
post-program with measures covering all 8 topics/lessons covered and analyzed
for content retention, cognitive development, intentions to use alcohol, and
social skills. A 6-week follow-up assessment was conducted for students
in the intervention group, but not for those in the control group. The
pre, post, and follow-up measure consisted of 33 questions covering all 8
objectives of the PY/PM curriculum on four-point Likert scales.

Results: From pre to post-test, students in the
treatment PY/PM intervention group, compared with students in the control
group, reported a greater increase in vehicle safety skills (effect size =
.68), greater gains in intentions on not riding with an alcohol impaired driver
(effect size = .39), higher gains in a question that measured knowledge about
brain development (effect size = .48), and increased media literacy (effect
size = .44). There were no statistically significant effects of the PY/PM
curriculum for the dimensions of Decision Making, Stress Management, and
Rules. Girls improved more than boys on Riding with an Impaired Driver,
Underage Drinking Attitudes, Rules, and Brain Development. Also, the girls
in the intervention group who scored below the median at the pre-test showed
the greatest improvement in Attitudes against Drinking and Driving at the
post-test, and boys who scored above the median at the pre-test showed the
greatest improvement in the same dimension suggesting their attitudes were
further reinforced by the PY/PM curriculum.

The most notable limitation of the study was the fact that
the students in the control group were not given a 6-week follow-up assessment,
which was due to limited resources.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Bohman, T. M., Barker, E. D., Bell, M. L., Lewis, C. M., Holleran, L.,
& Pomeroy, E. (2004). Early intervention for alcohol use prevention
and vehicle safety skills: Evaluating the Protecting You/Protecting Me
curriculum. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 14(1),17-40.

KEYWORDS: Middle Childhood (6-11), Children,
Elementary School, School-based, Mentoring, Tutoring, Education,
Social/Emotional Health, Life Skills, Skills Training, Substance Use, Alcohol
Use, Vehicle Safety, Drinking and Driving, White or Caucasian, Black or
African-American, Hispanic or Latino.

Program information last updated 2/09/07