Universal, Selective and Indicated Evidence-based Prevention

Prevention Plus Wellness, LLC provides evidence-based and evidence-informed programs and parent tools that can be used as universal, selective and indicated prevention strategies. 

Universal prevention refers to approaches designed for an entire population without regard to individual risk factors.  Selective prevention is when strategies are targeted to one or more subgroups of a population determined to be at risk for substance abuse.  Indicated prevention is when interventions are aimed at individuals showing signs of substance abuse or problems.

The following article provides evidence-based and evidence-informed examples of each of these three types of prevention.

Universal Prevention

Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW) provides four universal prevention programs designed for all youth and young adult populations.  Because of their brevity (1-6 lessons) they are feasible for implementation in nearly any setting where young people are located.  These universal prevention programs include:

  • SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness single-lesson program in versions for older adolescents, young adolescents, and children
  • SPORT 2 six-lesson program in editions for older adolescents and young adolescents
  • InShape Prevention Plus Wellness single-lesson program for young adults
  • In God’s Image three-lesson program for youth

In addition to the above listed programs for use by prevention and health professionals, PPW offers four universal prevention tools for parents and guardians who wish to prevent substance use and promote healthy habits of their youth.  These parent universal prevention strategies include:

  • PPW for Parents Pep Talk Lessons addressing seven healthy behavior topics
  • PPW Parent Flyers in versions for older adolescents, young adolescents, and children
  • PPW Teen Contracts addressing five youth behavior topics
  • Parent-Youth Wellness Resources

Selective Prevention

None of the programs developed by Prevention Plus Wellness were originally designed for subgroups of youth at greater risk for substance abuse. 

That said, one of our studies evaluating the SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program among older adolescents found that youth who already were using drugs and who received SPORT PPW showed greater substance use effect sizes than those not already using drugs, even a year after intervention. 

Specifically, published results indicated that one-year after intervention substance using youth receiving SPORT PPW showed significant:

  • reductions in binge drinking,
  • reductions in frequency of cigarette smoking,
  • reductions in marijuana use,
  • reductions in the initiation of cigarette use,
  • reductions in initiation of marijuana use,
  • increases in vigorous exercise, and
  • increases in moderate physical activity.  

These findings suggest that the SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program, and perhaps other PPW strategies, hold promise as selective interventions that could produce positive effects even larger and lasting longer than those found among general populations of young people receiving PPW programs.  

Indicated Prevention

Prevention Plus Wellness provides two new programs that were designed for subgroups showing signs of substance abuse or problems.  Both of these program may be used as indicated prevention interventions, but as the names imply can also be implemented to individuals in substance abuse treatment and recovery. 

These indicated prevention programs include:

These two practical interventions were adopted from our single-lesson evidence-based SPORT PPW and InShape PPW programs for youth and adult populations, respectively.  They were created specifically for youth and adults suffering from substance abuse both within and outside of treatment settings.


Prevention Plus Wellness evidence-based and evidence-informed programs and parent tools can be used among general populations of all youth and young adults as universal prevention strategies. 

More recently, two PPW programs were adopted to be used among substance abusing youth and adults as indicated prevention interventions or those in substance abuse treatment and recovery. 

Lastly, PPW programs and parent tools may also be efficacious as selective prevention strategies among youth and youth adults at greater risk for experiencing substance abuse, such as those individuals already using drugs. 

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Jacksonville, FL 32224
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