Book Identifies Best Strategies to Prevent Adolescent Problem Behaviors

Interdisciplinary project on behavior change to combat substance abuse

Four researchers, with different research approaches and perspectives on deviant behavior, spent the 2000–01 academic year at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, Calif., to identify new strategies for creating behavior change in adolescent substance abusers.

The researchers, with input from visiting scholars in the field, drafted a book, Helping Adolescents at Risk: Prevention of Multiple Problem Behaviors. Beginning in January 2002, the Society for Prevention Research in Fairfax, Va., took over the project, launching a communications campaign to promote the researchers' recommendations to prevent deviant behaviors in youth. Project staff also produced reports, each of which covered a recommendation from the book in greater detail.

Key Recommendations

  • Local communities should develop measurement systems to monitor childhood and adolescent problem behaviors.

  • Programs to prevent adolescents from engaging in multiple deviant behaviors should be tested using both scientific trials, which evaluate whether the program works in a controlled setting, and effectiveness trials, which evaluate whether the program works in myriad community settings.

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