Evaluation of a Family-Based Substance Abuse Prevention Program Targeted for the Middle School Years

By Antonia Abbey, Colleen Pilgrim, Peggy Hendrickson, and Sue Buresh

Printed in the Journal of Drug Education, vol. 30, No. 2, 2000

A family-based substance abuse prevention program was evaluated which emphasizes family cohesion, school and peer attachment, self-esteem, and attitudes about adolescent use of alcohol and tobacco. The program was implemented in rural communities and targeted families with students entering middle or junior high school. Baseline surveys were conducted with students and parents in four schools and were readministered one year later. Because the program was voluntary, a quasi-experimental design was used to compare participants (29 students and 28 parents) and nonparticipants (268 students and 134 parents). Analyses of covariance indicated that student participants, as compared to nonparticipants, had higher family cohesion, less family fighting, greater school attachment, higher self-esteem, and believed that alcohol should be consumed at an older age at the one year follow-up. There were fewer significant results for parent participants. Strategies for involving parents in prevention programs are discussed.