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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. School Program Using Motivational Interviewing to Prevent Underage Alcohol Use and Illegal Drug Use

Approach. Conduct motivational interview-based educational program to prevent underage alcohol use and illegal drug use.

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Overview. Studies show educational programs that use motivational interviewing have the potential to increase motivation to stop substance use, improve knowledge of drug use myths, and improve decision-making skills.1

Evidence. Moderate. Educational programs that use motivational interviewing 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. Increased motivation to stop substance use; improved knowledge of drug use myths; improved decision-making skills. 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 motivational interview-based educational program 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 participating in motivational interview-based educational program.
  • Number of high schools offering motivational interview-based educational program 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 participating in educational program.
  • Percent of high schools offering motivational interview-based educational program to prevent underage alcohol use and illegal drug use.

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

  • Number of high school students participating in motivational interview-based educational program who showed an increase in knowledge of drug use myths after taking the curriculum.
  • Number of high school students participating in motivational interview-based educational program who showed improved decision-making skills.
  • Number of high school students participating in motivational interview-based educational program who showed increased motivation to stop substance use.

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

  • Percent of high school students participating in motivational interview-based educational program who showed an increase in knowledge of drug use myths after taking the curriculum.
  • Percent of high school students participating in motivational interview-based educational program who showed improved decision-making skills.
  • Percent of high school students participating in motivational interview-based educational program who showed increased motivation to stop substance use.

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 Lisha NE, Sun P, Rohrbach LA, Spruijt-Metz D, Unger JB, Sussman S. An evaluation of immediate outcomes and fidelity of a drug abuse prevention program in continuation high schools: project towards no drug abuse (TND). Journal of Drug Education 2012;42(1): 33-57.

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.