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Enlisting Peer Cooperation in the Service of Alcohol Use Prevention in Middle School

NCJ Number
Child Development Volume: 89 Issue: 6 Dated: 2018 Pages: e459-e467
Mark J. Van Ryzin; Cary J. Roseth
Date Published
9 pages

The authors describe a cluster randomized trial of cooperative learning methods to prevent increasing alcohol use among middle school students; they discuss their research sampling and methodology, outcomes, and policy implications.


This article reports on a cluster randomized trial of cooperative learning (CL) as a way to prevent escalation in alcohol use during middle school. We hypothesized that CL, by bringing students together in group-based learning activities using positive interdependence, would interrupt the process of deviant peer clustering, provide at-risk youth with prosocial influences, and in turn, reduce escalations in alcohol use. Results indicated that CL significantly reduced growth in deviant peer affiliation and actual alcohol use, and effects for willingness to use alcohol were at the threshold of significance. CL also attenuated the link between willingness to use alcohol and later alcohol use. Publisher Abstract Provided