Three prevention projects that have had an alcohol-specific focus have been completed. These include: (1) the Alcohol Misuse Prevention Trial (AMPS) (Dielman, Shope, Leech, and Butchart, 1989); (2) the Adolescent Alcohol Prevention Trial (AAPT) (Hansen and Graham, 1991); and (3) Project Northland (Perry et al., 1996 [main outcome paper Phase I]; Perry et al., 2002 [main outcome paper Phase II]).
The AMPS program was designed to prevent the misuse of alcohol among students enrolled in their last year of elementary school (Dielman, Shope, Butchart, and Campanelli, 1986; Dielman et al., 1989). The original goal of AMPS was to reduce the prevalence of alcohol use among middle school students through an intervention that focused on resistance skills training. Students were taught skills believed to be necessary to avoid alcohol misuse, including saying “no” to peer pressure. Fifth- and sixth-grade classes of students were randomly assigned either to receive the program or to serve as no-treatment controls. Fifth-grade classes were also randomly assigned to receive or not to receive a booster program. Half of all students in each group were tested prior to the beginning of the program. All students were tested 2, 14, and 26 months after program delivery.
There was no reduction in alcohol misuse among fifth graders who received the AMPS program compared with those in the control group. This was true for those enrolled in the core AMPS program as well as those who received the booster program.
For sixth graders, there were some reductions in alcohol misuse. There was a lower rate of onset of drinking among all students that was, statistically speaking, marginally significant. Effects were stronger when only students with some prior experience with alcohol were considered. Notably, increases in drinking by sixth-grade students who had some prior experience with drinking were significantly lower among those who received the program compared to those who did not. There were no differences between groups if students hadn’t used alcohol prior to the start of the study.
Because this evaluation of AMPS found that effects were not maintained over time, an enhanced AMPS curriculum was developed, which included more sessions, role playing, and norm-setting activities within the program. The goals of the enhanced AMPS program were to teach students about alcohol use and misuse in their social contexts and to develop students’ skills for identifying and resisting social pressures to use alcohol. The purpose of this research was to describe the development, implementation, and evaluation of this enhanced AMPS curriculum. Specifically, students’ exposure to AMPS and their prior drinking experiences were studied in