How Do Adolescents Attending SPORT PPW Compare to US Adolescents on Perceived Harmfulness of Drug Use?

We compared pretest and posttest data from 650 (posttest) adolescents receiving the one-session evidence-based SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness in New York City (60% female, 54% 14 years old) to 8th graders responding to the national Monitoring the Future (MTF) Study (2021): http://monitoringthefuture.org/data/21data/table9.pdf 

8th Grade Perceived Serious Harmfulness from Regular Drug Use 

Alcohol 

MTF=52%

SPORT PPW Pretest=68%

SPORT PPW Posttest=76% 

Cigarettes 

MTF=64%

SPORT PPW Pretest=83%

SPORT PPW Posttest=86% 

E-Cigarettes 

MTF=55%

SPORT PPW Pretest=74%

SPORT PPW Posttest=81% 

Marijuana 

MTF=52%

SPORT PPW Pretest=64%

SPORT PPW Posttest=72% 

Illegal Drugs 

MTF=64% (Cocaine)

SPORT PPW Pretest=82%

SPORT PPW Posttest=87% 

Findings

 The single-session SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program increased the number of adolescents who perceived regular use of all five substances as harmful to their health, including alcohol, cigarette, e-cigarette, marijuana and illegal drug use. 

Both the MTF and SPORT PPW data sets showed that fewer young adolescents believe regular alcohol, marijuana and e-cigarette use is harmful compared to cigarette and illegal drug consumption. 

The SPORT PPW program was most effective in increasing the number of adolescents who perceived using these three commonly used substances, alcohol, marijuana and e-cigarettes, as harmful to their health.  

The percentage of US adolescents in the MTF study who perceived substance use as harmful was smaller than those in the SPORT PPW sample.  This variation may be due to the slight difference in the wording of the perceived harmfulness measures in the two surveys. 

Conclusion 

SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness can increase youth perceived harmfulness of multiple substances, but particularly alcohol, marijuana and e-cigarette use.  Since perceived harmfulness is a risk factor for using these drugs, the SPORT PPW program can be helpful in lowering that risk for adolescents. 

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