A Meta-analysis of the Effectiveness of
Mass-Communication for Changing Substance-use
Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavior
James H. Derzon
Pacific Institutes for Research and Evaluation
Mark W. Lipsey
Recent data show that within a given 30day period, 37% of 12th graders used tobacco, 53% used alcohol, 24% used marijuana, and 11% used one or more other illegal drugs (Monitoring the Future, 1998). The personal, social, and economic costs of the abuse of these substances dictates that steps be taken to minimize their impact on young persons' lives. In 1997, in response to this community need, the Office of National Drug. Control Policy began an unprecedented 5-year mass-media campaign to educate and enable America's youth to reject illegal drugs.
One facet of the National Youth Antidrug Media Campaign is directed at youth ages 9–19 years and is designed to enhance awareness that (a) most youth do not use drugs, (b) most youth disapprove of drug use, (c) drug use is a poor choice, and also to (d) enhance refusal skills, (e) reinforce acceptable alternatives to drug use, and (9 encourage public pledges not to use drugs. The second facet of the campaign is directed at parents, caregivers, and other youth-influential adults. On this front the objectives are to (g) heighten negative perceptions of drug use, (h) encourage discussions of the negatives of drug use, (i) improve parenting skills, particularly management and communication, (j) promote community involvement, especially around prevention programming, and (k) enhance skills to recognize drug use in children and seek services to aid these children.