Primary Outcome Measures:
- alcohol, tobacco, drug use
- alcohol and drug consequences
- self-change efforts
- perceived peer use
- positive and negative outcome expectancies
- all measures taken biannually over a three year period
Alcohol use among youth continues to be a major concern for this nation, with a large proportion of adolescents increasing their alcohol consumption as they transition from the 6th to the 8th grade. Although many adolescents experience alcohol-related problems, few actually seek help or treatment. This may be because traditional intervention approaches are not well suited for this age group. The aims of this project are to assess factors that impact younger adolescents’ alcohol-related help-seeking behavior and to develop and standardize a developmentally sensitive self-change facilitation program. We will also preliminarily test the efficacy of the program in modifying the alcohol involvement (e.g., initiation, use, and problems) of middle school students. The focus of this grant is on younger adolescents (e.g., 12-15 years old), as they are particularly vulnerable to initiating alcohol use due to unique developmental issues. For example, peer conformity peaks during 6tn, 7th and 8th grade and declines thereafter. In addition, this age group is less likely to consider future consequences in the decision making process. Biannual surveys at two middle schools will assess alcohol and drug use patterns, help-seeking behavior and preferences, self-change efforts, and level of motivation for change. Year 1 data will be used to develop a voluntary brief intervention program that targets a variety of youth, including those who are just beginning to experiment with alcohol and those who may have experienced some problems due to their use. Primary objectives are: 1) to explore barriers and facilitative factors that promote/hinder younger adolescents’ use of services, 2) use detailed survey information to design and pilot a self-change program, 3) examine alcohol involvement in relation to program utilization, and 4) preliminarily evaluate the efficacy of the intervention and overall patterns of service use. This study will extend facilitation of self-change research, as this program will be one of the first voluntary alcohol focused intervention programs to target middle school students.