Youth substance use and misuse are still highly common among Western countries, despite substantial efforts made to reduce the problem. The World Health Organization reports that among thirteen–year–old youth, one out of two has tried to smoke, one out of six has already experienced drunkenness, while one out of five has smoked cannabis. Early start with substance use is often associated with more severe short– and long–term negative consequences for youth psycho–social adjustment. Thus, there is a need to find efficacious and cost–effective ways to prevent youth substance use.
This volume of New Directions for Youth Development brings together international experts in the areas of prevention, health, and developmental science in the attempt to present the most up–to–date knowledge about etiology (e.g., risk and protective factors) of substance use behaviors and the most effective interventions that can be implemented in the school setting. Finally, it presents current hot topics in the field, such as the importance of implementation fidelity for the success of the program, the need to find effective ways to disseminate evidence based interventions and to understand whether those interventions are, in fact, cost effective.
Taken together, those articles shed a light on what has been done and what still needs to be done to combat substance use among youth and suggest new theoretical perspectives and new practical approaches to address the problem.
d Approaches to
Issue Editors Notes 1
Karina Weichold, Fabrizia Giannotta
Executive Summary 9
Models, theories, and their implication for prevention
1. Substance use: Determinants and opportunities for prevention in the family and school contextMarloes Kleinjan, Rutger C. M. E. Engels 15Risk behavior including substance use is highly prevalent and relates to various negative outcomes. The authors summarize research on the determinants of youth substance use, and they discuss options for prevention and intervention, especially in the school context.
2. Applying neurodevelopmental theory to school–based drug misuse prevention during adolescenceNathaniel R. Riggs, David S. Black, Anamara Ritt–Olson 33The adolescent brain undergoes tremendous changes affecting, for instance, emotions, motivation, cognition, which contribute to substance misuse vulnerability in this life phase. Based on that, the authors introduce innovative school–based preventive approaches incorporating neurocognitive models.
3. Substance misuse prevention: Addressing anhedoniaSteve Sussman, Adam Leventhal 45The authors highlight the importance of anhedonia as a risk factor for substance misuse in adolescence and discuss options for preventive efforts targeting anhedonia in school context and beyond.
Examples of excellence for effective prevention attempts
4. Life skills training: Preventing substance misuse by enhancing individual and social competenceGilbert J. Botvin, Kenneth W. Griffin 57The Life Skills Training (LST) is one of the most successful school–based prevention strategies against substance misuse in the United States, whereby the enhancement of individual and social competence is a key target. This chapter introduces the conceptual framework and provides a summary of evaluation findings.
5. Unplugged, a European school–based program for substance use prevention among adolescents: Overview of results from the EU–Dap trialFederica D. Vigna–Taglianti, Maria Rosaria Galanti, Gregor Burkhart, Maria Paola Caria, Serena Vadrucci, Fabrizio Faggiano for the EU–Dap Study Group 67The transfer of a prevention program from one culture to the other is often a challenge. One unique attempt to assess the effectiveness of a substance misuse prevention program implemented in seven different European countries is the evaluation of the program Unplugged.
6. Translation of etiology into evidence–based prevention: The life skills program IPSYKarina Weichold 83Guided by models of translational research dealing with conditions of a successful translation of etiological findings into evidence–based prevention programs, this chapter summarizes the results of a more than ten–year research program focusing on the development and evaluation of the IPSY (Information + Psychosocial Competence = Protection) program, as conducted in the European context.
7. You ve shown the program model is effective. Now what?Phyllis L. Ellickson 95After the successful evaluation of a program, it is often difficult to ensure that the program will be delivered in practice as designed and thus get results close to what was found under controlled conditions. Based on field experiences gathered along with the implementation and evaluation of the Project ALERT, this chapter discusses possible strategies for enhancing program attractiveness to potential adopters and users, facilitating program fidelity while maintaining room for adaptation.
Program dissemination and transfer into practice
8. Improving dissemination of evidence–based programs through researcher practitioner collaborationMetin O¨ zdemir, Fabrizia Giannotta 107Dissemination of evidence–based programs is a major challenge. The authors stress the importance of a close collaboration of both researchers and practitioners to develop assessment systems, methods for improving implementation quality, and the identification of core elements of prevention programs.
Economic aspects of school–based interventions
9. Advancing school–based interventions through economic analysisTina M. Olsson, Laura Ferrer–Wreder, Lilianne Eninger 117This chapter addresses the importance of economic analysis for the future of school–based substance abuse prevention programs and highlights the role of prevention research in the development of knowledge that can be used for economic analysis.