The prevention science field draws a valuable distinction between efficacy trials, which demonstrate results in a research environment, and effectiveness trials, which demonstrate results in a real-world environment. Although efficacy trials can be helpful in validating the conceptual basis for an intervention, the findings of effectiveness trials are viewed as being more relevant to community settings and the interventions as they will be imple

depressive symptomatology among children and youth (Cuijpers, van Straten, et al., 2008; Horowitz and Garber, 2006).

  • For children at heightened risk, one particularly promising intervention uses a cognitive-behavioral approach and significantly reduced major depressive episodes (Clarke, Hornbrook, et al., 2001).

Substance Abuse

  • The Good Behavior Game significantly reduced the risk of illicit drug abuse or dependence disorder at age 19-21 (Kellam, Brown, et al., 2008).

  • Life Skills Training significantly reduced drug and polydrug (tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana) use three years after the program (Botvin, Griffin, et al., 2000).

  • Linking Interests of Families and Teachers reduced use of alcohol and marijuana.

  • EcoFIT (Ecological Approach to Family Intervention and Treatment, a graduated version of the Adolescent Transition Program) reduced rates of growth in tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use between the ages of 11 and 17 and reduced the likelihood of being diagnosed with a substance use disorder (Connell, Dishion, et al., 2007).

Multiple Disorders

  • The Seattle Social Development project, a quasi-experimental combined parent and teacher training intervention, significantly reduced multiple diagnosable mental health disorders (major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, social phobia) at age 24 (Hawkins, Kosterman, et al., 2008).


  • As suggestive evidence of prevention potential, a selective intervention for people with high anxiety symptoms led to significantly fewer participants developing anxiety disorders one to two years after the intervention (Schmidt, Eggleston, et al., 2007). An indicated intervention for 7- to 14-year-olds with elevated anxiety symptoms resulted in significantly fewer anxiety disorders at six-month and two-year follow-up (Dadds, Spence, et al., 1997).

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