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Strengthen the Evidence for Maternal and Child Health Programs

New: MCHbest strategies database for sample ESMs

Evidence Tools
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Strategy. Personality-Targeted School Program Aimed to Prevent Underage Alcohol Use and Illegal Drug Use

Approach. Conduct targeted educational program for students with high-risk personality traits to prevent underage alcohol use and illegal drug use.

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Overview. Studies show that targeted educational programs that are designed for students with high-risk personality traits have the potential to delay the progression from casual to risky drinking behavior and to lower the rates of problem drinking behaviors, such as binge drinking.1, 2

Evidence. Moderate. Targeted educational programs that are designed for students with high-risk personality traits appear to be effective in preventing underage alcohol use and illegal drug use. Programs based on this strategy are likely to work. This strategy has been tested more than once and results trend positive overall. Access the peer-reviewed evidence through the MCH Digital Library. (Read more about understanding evidence ratings).

Target Audience. High school students.

Outcome. Decreased prevalence of underage alcohol and illegal drug use; delayed progression from casual to risky drinking behavior; lower rates of problem drinking behaviors, such as binge drinking. For detailed outcomes related to each study supporting this strategy, click on the peer-reviewed evidence link above and read the "Intervention Results" for each study.

Examples from the Field. Access descriptions of ESMs that use this strategy directly or intervention components that align with this strategy. You can use these ESMs to see how other Title V agencies are addressing the NPM. You may also want to look at evidence that supports educational programs in other NPM topic areas that can be translated to this specific topic area.

Sample ESMs. Using the approach “Conduct targeted educational program for students with high-risk personality traits to prevent underage alcohol use and illegal drug use,” here are sample ESMs you can use as a model for your own measures using the Results-Based Accountability framework:

Quadrant 1:
Measuring Quantity of Effort
("What/how much did we do?")

  • Number of high school students with high-risk personality traits participating in educational program.
  • Number of high schools offering educational program targeted to students with high-risk personality traits to prevent underage alcohol use and illegal drug use.

Quadrant 2:
Measuring Quality of Effort
("How well did we do it?")

  • Percent of high school students with high-risk personality traits participating in educational program.
  • Percent of high schools offering educational programs targeted to students with high-risk personality traits to prevent underage alcohol use and illegal drug use.

Quadrant 3:
Measuring Quantity of Effect
("Is anyone better off?")

  • Number of high school students with high-risk personality traits participating in educational program who showed an increase in knowledge after they finished the curriculum.
  • Number of high school students with high-risk personality traits who reported a decrease in their use of alcohol and drugs.
  • Number of high school students with high-risk personality traits who reported a delay in the progression from casual to risky drinking behavior.
  • Number of high school students with high-risk personality traits who reported lower rates of problem drinking behaviors, such as binge drinking.

Quadrant 4:
Measuring Quality of Effect
("How are they better off?")

  • Percent of high school students with high-risk personality traits participating in educational program who showed an increase in knowledge after they finished the curriculum.
  • Percent of high school students with high-risk personality traits who reported a decrease in their use of alcohol and drugs.
  • Percent of high school students with high-risk personality traits who reported a delay in the progression from casual to risky drinking behavior.
  • Percent of high school students with high-risk personality traits who reported lower rates of problem drinking behaviors, such as binge drinking.

Note. ESMs become stronger as they move from measuring quantity to measuring quality (moving from Quadrants 1 and 3, respectively, to Quadrants 2 and 4) and from measuring effort to measuring effect (moving from Quadrants 1 and 2, respectively, to Quadrants 3 and 4).

Learn More. Read how to create stronger ESMs and how to measure ESM impact more meaningfully through Results-Based Accountability.


References:

1 Conrod PJ, Castellanos-Ryan N, Mackie C. Long-term effects of a personality-targeted intervention to reduce alcohol use in adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2011; 79(3): 296–306.

2 Conrod PJ, O'Leary-Barrett M, Newton N, et al. Effectiveness of a selective, personality-targeted prevention program for adolescent alcohol use and misuse: a cluster randomized controlled trial. JAMA Psychiatry 2013;70(3): 334–42.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U02MC31613, MCH Advanced Education Policy, $3.5 M. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.