Universal School-Based Substance Abuse Prevention Programs

Psychosocial constructs targeted by universal school-based substance abuse prevention programs (USBSAP) are highly interdependent. Factors that mediate substance use operate in more than one direction. Universal interventions should focus on intentions to use, normative beliefs and attitudes toward peer use.

The Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Study (ASAPS) implemented Take Charge of Your Life (TCYL) curricula in order to test the viability of universal school-based interventions. Other analyses of data from ASAPS investigated effects on drug use outcomes and the influence of TCYL on mediating factors. This article works from the macro level, elevating from TCYL specific outcomes. Researchers built theoretical models that could account for the interplay of key mediating factors. Models then separated results for cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana.

Key Findings:

  • Intentions not to use, normative beliefs, and attitudes toward use directly influenced use of cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana.
  • Refusal skills had a direct effect on the intent not to use cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana.
  • Social skills had a significant effect on the intent not to use cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana.

ASAPS established negative consequences related to the implementation of TCYL. This report used data from ASAPS to establish theoretical implications for future interventions.