programs are those focused on life and social skills. Skills-based programs increased drug knowledge, decision-making skills, self-esteem, and peer pressure resistance and were effective in deterring early-stage drug use.
Derzon, Sale, and colleagues (2005) report on an analysis of a 46-site, five-year evaluation of school- and community-based substance abuse prevention programs that included behavioral skills programs, information-focused programs, recreation-focused programs, and affective programs. Using a meta-analytic technique to project potential impact by accounting for methodological and procedural differences, they calculated a mean adjusted effect size of 0.24 for decreasing 30-day substance use (tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana).
Life Skills Training (see Box 7-4) is one of the most prevalent substance use prevention curricula in the nation’s public schools and has been endorsed as a model program by both the Blueprints for Violence Prevention and the Surgeon’s General’s Youth Violence Report. Another successful alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana preventive intervention for middle school students is Project ALERT (see Box 7-5). The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Program, based primarily on scare tactics, has been found
Life Skills Training: A Universal Substance Use Prevention Program
The current goal of the Life Skills Training (LST) Program (Botvin, 1996, 2000) is providing adolescents with the knowledge and skills needed to resist social influences to use cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs, as well as reducing potential motivations to use these substances by increasing general personal and social competence (Botvin, 1986). Middle (or junior high) school students attend 15 45-minute class periods during or after school, with 10 booster class periods in the second year, 5 booster class periods in the third year, and optional violence prevention units. Botvin and colleagues evaluated LST in a three-year randomized controlled trial of predominantly white seventh grade students from 56 schools. Significant prevention effects were found for cigarette smoking, marijuana use, and immoderate alcohol use. Prevention effects were also found for normative expectations and knowledge concerning substance use, interpersonal skills, and communication skills. Three years later, approximately 60 percent of the initial seventh grade sample was surveyed again during a long-term follow-up study (Botvin, Baker, et al., 1995; Botvin, Griffin, et al., 2000). Significant reductions were found in both drug and polydrug use. Positive effects have also been found for a version of LST modified for minority studies (Botvin, Griffin, et al., 2001) and for an intervention combining LST and the Strengthening Families Program, which is described in Chapter 6 (Spoth, Redmond, et al., 2002; Spoth, Clair, et al., 2006). The benefits of LST have been reported to exceed its costs (Aos, Lieb, et al., 2004).