The Gatehouse Project is a school-based prevention program targeted at secondary school students in grades 8, 9, and 10 that includes both institutional and individual components to promote the emotional and behavioral well-being of students. A statistically significant positive impact was found between intervention and control students for any drinking, any smoking, regular smoking, and friends’ alcohol and tobacco use measures. The largest statistically significant positive impact was on regular smoking. There were no statistically significant impacts on depressive symptoms, social relationships, or relationships in their school.
DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM
Target population: Secondary school students in grades 8, 9, and 10
The Gatehouse Project is a school-based primary prevention program that includes both institutional and individual components to promote the emotional and behavioral well-being of students. The program starts when students are beginning their second years of secondary school (13-14 years of age) and continues through the next two years. The major aims of the program are to increase levels of emotional well-being and to reduce rates of tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis abuse. The program’s priority areas for action are to build a sense of security and trust, increase skills and opportunities for good communication, and build a sense of positive regard through valued participation in aspects of school life. Students explore, develop, and practice strategies for dealing with a range of common potentially difficult social settings that may cause conflicting emotional responses. The program is integrated into regular English, health, or personal development classes (but could be implemented in an after-school setting), with no project workbooks, but using program curriculum material. The teachers at each school receive on average 40 hours of professional development and the material is taught over 10 weeks.
EVALUATION OF PROGRAM
Evaluated Population: A total of2,678 Australian year 8 students were selected to participate in the study.
The mean age of the students at the beginning of the program was 14 years, with 47 percent male, 87.5 percent Australian-born, 25 percent speaking other than English at home, 22 parent with a parent smoker, 31 percent drinkers, 15.5 percent smokers, and 13.5 percent cannabis users. A little more than half reported having been bullied (52.7 percent) and 42 percent reported having had arguments with others.
Approach: Secondary schools were randomly assigned to either the intervention (N=12 schools; 1335 students) or control group (N=14 schools; 1343 students). Students in the schools in the control group did not receive the intervention.
Measures taken included mental health status, perceived availability of attachments, conflictual relationships, victimization, school engagement, health risk behaviors, and family characteristics. Data were collected from students at four different times: at the beginning of 8th grade and at the end of 8th, 9th, and 10th grade. At baseline, the intervention group reported slightly lower levels of risk factors such as parental separation and parental smoking.
A statistically significant positive difference was found between intervention and control students for any drinking, any smoking, regular smoking, and friends’ alcohol and tobacco use measures. The largest statistically significant positive impact was on regular smoking (OR = 0.57, 0.62, and 0.72 at the end of each of the three school years). There were no statistically significant impacts on depressive symptoms, social relationships, or school relationships.
SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION
Contact: Paras Tsiamis Phone: +61 3 9345 6652
Bond, L. Patton, G. Glover, S., Carlin, J.B., Butler, H., Thomas, L., & Bowes, G. (2004). The Gatehouse Project: Can a multilevel school intervention affect emotional wellbeing and health risk behaviors? Journal of Epidemial Community Health, 58, 997-1003.
KEYWORDS: Adolescents (12-17), Males and Females (Co-ed), School-based, Social Skills/Life Skills, Self-Esteem/Self-Concept, Tobacco Use, Marijuana/Illicit/Prescription Drugs, Alcohol Use
Program information last updated on 6/30/2014.