The Influence of Program Mediators on Eleventh Grade Outcomes for Seventh Grade Substance Users and Nonusers

An investigation of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Study (ASAPS) explains the positive effects of treatment on baseline marijuana users but is unable to explain negative effects related to alcohol and tobacco. Outside influences might have been stronger than targeted mediators.

Analyses of Take Charge of Your Life (TCYL), a school-based substance abuse intervention, have revealed some negative consequences for participants. TCYL was designed to reshape preconceptions, attitudes, and decision-making skills (characteristics known as "mediators") of students from seventh through 11th grades. ASAPS was a randomized field trial of TCYL. This report on ASAPS delves into the program's construction, investigating effects on the targeted mediators themselves in an attempt to locate the source of negative consequences related to TCYL implementation.

Key Findings:

  • TCYL reduced the belief that marijuana use was a normal behavior and increased refusal skills.
  • TCYL had a significant effect on perceptions of consequences related to cigarette use among baseline users.
  • Any effects of the intervention that resulted in increased substance use were most prevalent among low-risk participants

TCYL is not appropriate as a universal intervention. Future programs should consider alternate delivery formats and prioritize assessments of key variables.