Friends Helping Friends: Socially Responsible ATOD Prevention

  • Mincemoyer, Claudia Cross (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Responsible decision-making is a cornerstone of prevention programs. However, attention has focused primarily on an individual's responsibility for his/her own behavior. Our project frames the avoidance of ATOD as a social responsibility that friends should assume for one another, makes intervening to help friends avoid ATOD an explicit normative belief, and teaches youth strategies to help friends avoid ATOD. The proposed project is a second phase in a larger program of work on the theme of social responsibility and ATOD prevention in adolescence. It is informed by results from Phase 1 of our work in which we conducted a large, longitudinal study of the factors related to adolescents'intentions to intervene to dissuade friends from ATOD use (funded by NIDA: RO1 DA13434;see Flanagan, Elek-Fisk, &Gallay, 2004 in Appendix F). Clear developmental patterns in motivations, beliefs about, and barriers to intervention with friends emerged in that study, which are the bases for the intervention we are proposing in this (Phase 2) project. Designed around the theme of "friends helping friends avoid harm," we propose: (a) the development of an eight-session curriculum targeted at fifth graders using formative evaluation to develop and modify curricular components based on participant feedback. The curriculum will include role plays, vignettes, communication training in resistance and dissuasion, and skill-development activities focused on how to help friends avoid ATOD. In addition, we will develop: (b) curricular supplements that parents can use to reinforce socially responsible beliefs and behaviors;(c) a formative evaluation of the parent supplement materials;(d) an instrument to measure the curriculum's effectiveness;and, (e) a pilot test of the curriculum, parent supplements, and evaluation instrument. We will partner with the Cooperative Extension System (CES) in three counties in Pennsylvania, taking advantage of their: 4-H club format to develop and test the curriculum, local knowledge of youth and ATOD use in their communities, and their connections with local institutions. The national infrastructure of the CES also will benefit Phase 3 of our work in which we plan to engage the CES across several states in a randomized trial (of 4-H clubs) to test the efficacy of the `Friends Helping Friends'curriculum, developed in the current application (Phase 2). Ultimately, our goal is to have an intervention on the theme of social responsibility, friendship, and prevention that would be responsive to the needs, strengths, and challenges of youth growing up in different cultural contexts. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: This project takes an innovative approach to public health by using positive peer pressure (Friends Helping Friends) as a mechanism to aid youth avoidance of ATOD. It makes social responsibility for health an explicit norm of friendship and develops youths'skills for intervening with friends in a range of social contexts where ATOD use may occur.
Effective start/end date5/15/0910/31/12


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: $215,167.00


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