Adolescents' Perceptions of Substance Abuse Prevention Strategies

By Lisnov, Lisa; Harding, Carol Gibb et al. | Adolescence, Summer 1998 | Go to article overview

Adolescents' Perceptions of Substance Abuse Prevention Strategies


Lisnov, Lisa, Harding, Carol Gibb, Safer, L. Arthur, Kavanagh, Jack, Adolescence


ABSTRACT

As part of a 3-year evaluation of substance abuse prevention strategies (Harding, Safer, Kavanagh, Bania, Carty, Lisnov, & Wysockey, 1996), this study examined the perceptions of 719 sixth- through ninth-grade Chicago public school students. School-based programs were rated as significantly more effective on six prevention objectives than were television ads, testimonials by famous people, billboards, and print ads displayed on public transportation. Students perceived the two school-based programs, Project DARE (a national program conducted through local police departments) and Captain Clean (an intense live theater program coordinated with student participation), as being equally effective overall, although the interactive theater program was rated as significantly better at encouraging students to talk about their feelings concerning substance abuse issues and at relating to the students' ethnic/racial backgrounds. When students were categorized according to frequency of alcohol use, nonusers, infrequent u sers, and frequent users differed significantly in their ratings of the school-based programs.

INTRODUCTION

Experimentation with alcohol and other drugs is no longer characteristic of only a small proportion of youth; rather, it has become the norm among the current generation of American adolescents (Schinke, Botvin, & Orlandi, 1991). It appears that adolescents may even perceive drug experimentation as a "transition" to maturity (Jessor & Jessor, 1980). Awareness of the extensiveness of substance use has led to numerous attempts at prevention, particularly in schools. Evaluation of prevention programs indicates that improvement in knowledge and some attitude change may occur; however, there is little evidence that these programs serve to actually reduce or eliminate drug use (Bangert-Drowns, 1988). This lack of evidence of program effectiveness may be due to at least two factors: the complexity of risk factors leading to adolescent substance abuse (Beman, 1995) and the difficulty of evaluating prevention programs.

Most research on substance abuse prevention strategies has employed pretest-posttest designs to identify changes in either knowledge, attitude, or behavior, or some combination of the three. While these designs indicate that prevention strategies are producing only limited change, the findings provide little information about why particular methods are not successful. Several studies have sought to extend our knowledge of why strategies are or are not successful by investigating participants' perceptions of what is required for preventing substance use. For example, Blount and Dembo (1984) and Schwartz (1991) examined adolescents' perceptions of the effectiveness of prevention strategies regarding such outcomes as learning the consequences of drug use, improving decision-making skills, and learning ways to "say no to drugs."

The present study examined junior and senior high school students' perceptions of prevention strategies currently used in Chicago. Two school-based programs were assessed: Project DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), a national program involving police officers, and Captain Clean, a musical theater program followed by an interactive discussion and role-playing session (Safer & Harding, 1993). In addition, four public approaches were included for the students' evaluation: television ads, testimonials by famous people, billboards, and print ads displayed on public transportation.

The theoretical framework employed in this study is based on problem behavior theory (Jessor & Jessor, 1980). Jessor and Jessor have posited that an individual's proclivity for problem behavior, such as substance abuse, depends on the interaction of personality, perception of the environment, and repertoire of behaviors. For each of these, there are variables that are proximal, or more powerfully related (e.g., peer support of the problem behavior), and those that are distal, or indirectly related to the problem behavior (e. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Adolescents' Perceptions of Substance Abuse Prevention Strategies
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.