Alcohol Prevention Program Succeeds in Rural Areas, Fails in Cities
> 3/19/2008 1:33:38 PM

In the quest to lower alcohol usage rates among young teens, researchers from the University of Minnesota have been looking to develop an education program targeted specifically at that group. In early testing they met with encouraging success, but news from a second round of experimentation has not been good. Using the same three-pronged approach, a second team of researchers tried to replicate the earlier success, which had come in a rural community, in a more urban environment. Their findings show that different strategies may be required for addressing this problem in different types of areas.

The intervention combined elements of classroom education, homework assignments and activities for families to do to together, and community efforts that tried to address broader issues that led to teen drinking. During the initial study, researchers found that this triple play reduced teen alcohol use by 20-30 percent. In the urban setting, however, no outcomes achieved measurable levels of statistical significance. As the study's lead author described in a press release, the researchers were taken aback by this failure:

"The intervention found to be effective in rural areas was not effective here, which really surprised us," said Kelli A. Komro, a University of Florida associate professor. "This is an important finding to realize this program was not enough. The bottom line is this: Low-income children in urban areas need more, long-term intensive efforts."

The important message, which the team describes in their report, is that not all interventions will be effective in every situation. The roots of teen drinking can come in many shapes and sizes. In this more recent experiment, for example, the team had trouble recruiting community members to their effort. They were told that there were more important concerns in the community than if teens were drinking. This is no doubt the case, and it speaks to larger issues that may underlie many of the risky behaviors that show up in more urban areas.

Failures in this instance should pave the way for more informed inquiry and intervention design in the future. We know that alcohol consumption often becomes an issue earlier than most of us would like to admit. While one program may not fit every need, with more targeted efforts it's possible to reach kids. As early drinking is a behavior tied to many later risky behaviors, this is certainly an area of study that will require more attention in the future.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy