Magazine article The Alcoholism Report

African-American Teens Tune out Mainstream Messages

Magazine article The Alcoholism Report

African-American Teens Tune out Mainstream Messages

Article excerpt

Organizations, corporations and individual treatment programs spend a lot of money creating, developing, producing and delivering prevention messages targeted at African-American teens. Do they work? Are they effective? Do they make any difference?

Apparently not. At least that is the finding of a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that concludes such targeted teens inhabit "a closed subculture that encourages dangerous behavior, enforces its world view with the threat of ostracism, and is almost as alienated from its own African-American traditions as it is from the White mainstream."

The three-month study aimed at finding ways to reach this audience with anti-alcohol and drug messages, as well as AIDS prevention messages, found that "an effective strategy for raching this audience with these messages simply doesn't yet exist."

The recently released study suggests that the problem is that the existing messages are reaching the wrong audience with the wrong messages -- that messages are taegeted to groups already past the age where decision making on these issues is occurring, and that many messages recommend action that would result in being rejected by the peer group. …

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