Developmental Considerations for Substance Use Interventions from Middle School Through College

Published in: Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, v. 29, no. 3, Mar. 2005, p. 474-484

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005

by Elizabeth J. D'Amico, Phyllis L. Ellickson, Eric F. Wagner, Rob Turrisi, Kim Fromme, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, Douglas L Longshore, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Marilyn J. Montgomery, Matthias Schonlau, Dale Wright

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This article summarizes a symposium organized by Dr. Elizabeth D'Amico and presented at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in Vancouver, Canada. The four presentations illustrate the importance of creating substance use interventions that are developmentally appropriate for youth. They represent innovative approaches to working with preteens, teenagers, and young adults. Dr. D'Amico's paper describes her research on the development of a voluntary brief intervention targeting alcohol use among middle school students. Findings indicated that by using school and community input, she was able to obtain a diverse a sample of youth across grades, sex, ethnicity, and substance use status. Dr. Ellickson's paper describes her research on Project ALERT, a school-based prevention program for middle school youth. Her findings indicate that Project ALERT worked for students at all levels of risk (low, moderate, and high) and for all students combined. Dr. Wagner's Teen Intervention Project was a randomized clinical trial to test the efficacy of a standardized Student Assistance Program for treating middle and high school students with alcohol and other drug problems. The study provided a unique opportunity to begin to examine how development may impact response to an alcohol or other drug intervention. Dr. Turrisi's paper examined processes underlying the nature of the effects of a parent intervention on college student drinking tendencies. Findings suggested that the parent intervention seems to have its impact on student drinking by reducing the influence of negative communications and decreasing the susceptibility of influences from closest friends. Dr. Kim Fromme provided concluding remarks.

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