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Drug Prevention With High Risk Families and Young Children

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Education Volume: 28 Issue: 4 Dated: 1998 Pages: 327-345
E J Hahn; L A Hall; M R Simpson
Date Published
19 pages
This evaluation assessed the effects of a school-based and home-based drug prevention program on risk factors for subsequent alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use among children.
Developed by the National Council on Alcoholism in the Greater Detroit area in the mid-1970s, Beginning Alcohol and Addictions Basic Education Studies (BABES) is an age-appropriate drug prevention curriculum originally designed for children 4 to 8 years old. The expanded BABES program has three components: classroom lessons, evening activities at school, and home-based parent-child activities. Each of the seven weekly BABES lessons lasts approximately 40-50 minutes and consists of introducing concepts, telling a story, role playing the story, and follow-up activities. Children and parents sit together, listen, and interact with the BABES presenter as the concepts are introduced and the story is told through the use of the puppet characters. Parents and young children learn communication skills for discussing ATOD in an age-appropriate way. Evaluation data were collected through the use of a quasi- experimental, nonequivalent control group pretest-posttest design. Thirty-six parents in the experimental school and 30 in the control school agreed to participate in the program and the evaluation. At the post-intervention follow-up 3 months later, complete data were available from 32 parents from the experimental group and 24 from the control group. The parent- child intervention was conducted over a 2-month period. Findings show that the intervention had no effect on parent or child risk factors, i.e., parent ATOD use, daily stressors, and depressive symptoms; parent self-esteem, family management practices, the quality of family relationships, and parenting attitudes; and children's adjustment. The program, however, was favorably received by parents and children. Almost two-thirds of the parents at the experimental school were involved in the program. Almost half of the parents had high depressive symptoms. The high rates of ATOD use and depressive symptoms among these parents are cause for concern. 2 tables and 72 references