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Prevention Through Education: A Review of Current International Social Science Literature

NCJ Number
Susan Backhouse; Jim McKenna; Laurie Patterson
Date Published
120 pages
This study highlights the factors which have been determined as the most successful preventive approaches in bullying, alcohol, tobacco and social drug use.
This review provides evidence regarding the efficacy of prevention interventions across four social domains: bullying, alcohol, tobacco and social drug use. Findings show that universal, school-based interventions are the most frequently studied prevention approach. This single setting offers the most systematic and efficient way of reaching the greatest number of young people each year. Although these interventions demonstrate immediate impact, their long-term effects are questionable. When school based programs are integrated into multi-level strategies involving school, family and community approaches, effectiveness is enhanced. However, community-based prevention alone appears to be ineffective in changing the behaviors considered. Based on the findings of research across the four domains, prevention programs should be: targeted at young people and adolescents when attitudes and values are being formed; tailored to fit the target population; interactive and emphasizing of active participation; derived from social influence approaches and focused on developing core life skills as knowledge; dissemination alone is ineffective in changing behavior; monitored and delivered with high degrees of fidelity, ensuring that program implementation is as directed; delivered by well trained individuals who deliver the program with high fidelity; and based on booster sessions delivered over a number of years, which s reinforces and builds on intervention messages. Figure, appendixes, and references