SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness Program Increases Perceived Harmfulness and Resistance Self-Efficacy Among Adolescents


A New York City school district evaluated the efficacy of the single-session evidence-based SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW) program implemented to 612 high school adolescents last school year. 

Prevention Plus Wellness programs include scannable and online pre and posttest surveys and complementary data analysis to assess program outcomes and fidelity.  

Results from an analysis of pre and posttest surveys collected immediately prior to and after the SPORT PPW lesson showed significant increases in perceived harmfulness and resistance self-efficacy on all five substances measured.  The substances included alcohol, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, marijuana and illegal drugs. 

Perceived Harmfulness and Self-Efficacy 

The percentage of adolescents who reported that regular substance use would harm their health or health behaviors (perceived harmfulness) increased from pre to posttest 11% to 20%, with the largest increases found for marijuana (20%), alcohol (18%) and e-cigarettes (12%).  

The percentage of adolescents who reported they were very sure that they could stay away from various substances (resistance self-efficacy) increased over time from 3% to 10%, with the greatest increases found for alcohol (10%), marijuana (10%) and e-cigarettes (5%). 

Research has shown that perceived harmfulness and resistance self-efficacy are significant predictors and influencers of youth substance use, indicating that the SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program will reduce future adolescent substance use, particularly alcohol, marijuana and e-cigarette use. 

Behavioral Intentions to Engage in Healthy Behaviors 

Survey results also showed significant increases from pre to posttest in the likelihood adolescents would engage in all four healthy behaviors assessed in the next year (behavioral intentions), including eating healthy foods each day (14%), getting 8 or more hours of sleep most nights (11%), getting regular physical activity (10%) and taking action to reduce stress (8%).    

These results showed that the SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program is decreasing common adolescent chronic disease risks by increasing protective wellness behaviors including regular physical activity, healthy nutrition, sleep and stress control.  

Adolescent Reactions to the SPORT PPW Program 

Another indicator of effectiveness is reflected in comments adolescents wrote about what they liked best about participating in the SPORT PPW program which included: 

  • Fun participation activity
  • Tells me about how to be more active and stay away from things that will damage my body
  • Learning the effects of drugs on mental health and school work
  • I liked learning to take care of my health and well being
  • It helped me learn more about myself
  • I learned how to not be stressed out and not use alcohol as a choice
  • This was very informative for my health and awareness
  • It taught me to make the best decisions
  • I learned I should sleep more and be more active
  • This lesson makes you change your view in life and see what is bad and good
  • I liked the positive messages used throughout
  • I liked the message to maintain a healthier lifestyle instead of doing things to harm it
  • Taught me the media makes drinking and smoking look everybody does it
  • I liked learning how physical activity really benefits you and your health
  • How we can teach other kids that using drugs and alcohol is dangerous and illegal
  • It gets me started on thinking about my future 

Conclusion 

The SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program significantly increases the perceived harmfulness of and self-efficacy to resist alcohol, tobacco, e-cigarette, marijuana and illegal drug use among high school adolescents which reduces the likelihood of their future use of these substances.  

The SPORT PPW program also substantially increases behavioral intentions of older adolescents to get regular physical activity, eat more healthy foods, get adequate sleep and control daily stress in the future which protects them from chronic disease and substance use.  

Adolescents report a wide variety of positive reactions to and outcomes from participating in the SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness program supporting its efficacy for preventing substance use and promoting healthy behaviors among youth. 

Learn more about evaluation tools and services provided with Prevention Plus Wellness programs: https://preventionpluswellness.com/pages/program-evaluation-support 

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