Evidence-based Prevention Programs for High Risk Youth

Evidence-based Prevention Programs for High Risk Youth

The evidence-based SPORT and InShape Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW) screening and brief interventions were designed for all youth and young adults as universal prevention programs.  

However, there is support that both programs could be particularly effective for high risk youth populations, such as drug users, youth participating in sports, and perhaps other youth populations at risk for substance use and problems.  

First, research evaluating the efficacy of the SPORT PPW program showed that the effect sizes were larger for drug using youth than the general youth population (https://preventionpluswellness.com/pages/published-research-evaluation-sport-ppw).  

The effects were medium to large for drug using youth even a year post-baseline, for measures such as reduced binge drinking, cigarette smoking and marijuana consumption, and increased moderate and vigorous physical activity. 

Second, sports participation among youth is generally associated with reduced risk for substance use, with the most glaring exception being increased alcohol consumption.  Participating in sports is typically linked to greater risk for alcohol use among youth.  

The SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program has been shown to prevent and reduce alcohol use among all youth, including substance using youth.  In addition, the SPORT PPW program provides youth with concrete messages linking sports and exercise participation with avoiding alcohol use which can harm fitness habits and images. 

Third, research evaluating the effectiveness of the InShape PPW program showed a reduction in the initiation of marijuana use (i.e., prevention effects), but also reduced the use and heavy use of both marijuana and alcohol, and driving after drinking among college students (https://preventionpluswellness.com/pages/published-research-evaluating-inshape-ppw). 

These results indicate that InShape PPW is useful for both universal as well as selective prevention purposes among young adults already using alcohol and illicit drugs. 

Fourth, screening and brief interventions in general have been shown to be effective strategies for reducing alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use among high risk populations.  

SPORT and InShape Prevention Plus Wellness include goal setting, a key component found to increase effect sizes of screening and brief interventions (https://preventionpluswellness.com/pages/prevention-plus-wellness-welcome). 

In addition, SPORT and InShape PPW, along with all Prevention Plus Wellness programs, are unique dual purposed screening and brief interventions which aim to prevent and reduce substance use as well as enhance resiliency by increasing physical activity and other health-promoting habits.  

In conclusion, while SPORT and InShape Prevention Plus Wellness programs were originally developed as universal prevention interventions for all youth and young adults, sufficient evidence exists to indicate they may be equally if not more effective as selective interventions for high risk youths and young adults. 

Please like and share this important information with others in your region and state.  Thank you!

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