Background. Two strategies for preventing the onset of alcohol abuse, and marijuana and cigarette use were tested in junior high schools in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, California. The first strategy taught skills to refuse substance use offers. The second strategy corrected erroneous normative perceptions about prevalence and acceptability of use among peers and established conservative groups norms regarding use. Methods. Four experimental conditions were created by randomly assigning schools to receive (a) neither of the experimental curricula (placebo comparison), (b) resistance skill training alone, (c) normative education alone, or (d) both resistance skill training and normative education. Students were pretested prior to the program and post-tested 1 year following delivery of the program. Results. There were main effects of normative education for summary measures of alcohol (P = 0.0011), marijuana (P = 0.0096), and cigarette smoking (P = 0.0311). All individual dichotomous measures of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use indicated significant reductions in onset attributable to normative education. There were no significant main effects of resistance skill training. Conclusion. These results suggest that establishing conservative norms is an effective strategy for preventing substance use.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health