Research Evaluating PPW Programs

SPORT PPW has been evaluated in several published research studies.  An overview of these studies described below were published in the Journal of School Health, Prevention Science, Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, Journal of Behavioral Medicine and The Journal of Current Pediatrics.   

SPORT PPW Study I: Young Adolescents (2003)

An initial study published in the Journal of School Health evaluated SPORT PPW with 465 middle school students showed that over time, young adolescents given the brief wellness-based prevention lesson significantly (

  • reduced initiation of alcohol use,
  • reduced alcohol problems,
  • improved protective factors like self-control,
  • reduced risk factors like perceived peer use of alcohol,
  • increased moderate physical activity,
  • increased vigorous exercise, three months after intervention, and
  • increased parent-youth communication for parents receiving mailed communication materials.

SPORT PPW Study II: Older Adolescents (2005)

A second study published in Prevention Science tested SPORT PPW among 604 high school students showed that compared to youth in a health education control group, the brief wellness-based prevention lesson and flyer significantly (

  • reduced quantity of alcohol use,
  • reduced frequency of alcohol use,
  • reduced binge drinking,
  • reduced the length of drinking,
  • reduced the stage of initiating drinking,
  • reduced frequency of cigarette smoking, and
  • increased moderate physical activity three months after intervention.

In addition, one year after baseline, adolescents receiving SPORT PPW who were using drugs prior to intervention, compared to youth in a control group who were using drugs, 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.

The effect sizes of behavior outcomes from the brief wellness-based prevention intervention ranged from small to large.  Effects were small to medium for youth in the entire sample, and were generally medium to large for the drug using subgroup indicating SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness would be an efficacious universal, selective and indicated prevention intervention. 

SPORT PPW Study III: Parent Materials (2008)

A third study published in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse examined the stand-alone parent SPORT PPW print materials program among 684 high school students showed that compared to youth given health flyers, three parent postcards/flyers significantly (

  • reduced frequency of alcohol use,
  • reduced alcohol-related problems,
  • improved adolescent self-control and parental monitoring, and among drug using youth
  • reduced frequency of alcohol use,
  • reduced frequency of marijuana use,
  • reduced initiation of alcohol use, and
  • reduced initiation of marijuana use four months after intervention.

SPORT PPW Study IV: Cross-Cultural Evaluation (2018)

A fourth study evaluating SPORT PPW translated into Turkish language and implemented among 215 high school students in Istanbul, Turkey showed that compared to youth in a control group, the brief wellness-based prevention lesson significantly:

  • increased vigorous and moderate physical activity,
  • increased vegetable and fruit consumption,
  • increased the duration of sleep,
  • improved exercise self-efficacy,
  • improved dietary self-efficacy,
  • reduced the number of days in an unhealthy mental condition, and
  • reduced the number of days youth were unable to do school activities three months after intervention.

Together, research published in refereed scientific journals show that the SPORT PPW wellness-based prevention intervention has a positive effect on both substance use and wellness behaviors among young and older adolescents in a single-lesson in-person format, and substance use behaviors among older adolescents in a print format.  The brief in-person lesson was found to both prevent and reduce substance use behaviors and problems, with some behavior outcomes lasting up to year.

The study evaluating SPORT PPW in Turkey highlights the viability and strength of the wellness-based prevention approach for impacting multiple health behaviors among youth from diverse cultures.  Additional recent research has supported findings that brief wellness-based prevention interventions can increase health-enhancing habits like fruit and vegetable consumption and stress management, while reducing substance use among American adolescents. 


Like SPORT PPW, the InShape Prevention Plus Wellness program was evaluated in a number of published research studies.  The results of these studies presented below were published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Preventive Medicine, Journal of Adolescent Health, Journal of American College Health and Preventive Medicine Reports.  

InShape PPW Study I (2008)

An initial study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine evaluated the InShape PPW program with over 300 college students and showed that, compared to a control group, young adults given the brief wellness-based lesson significantly (

  • reduced frequency and heavy use of alcohol,
  • reduced driving after drinking,
  • reduced initiation, quantity, and heavy use of marijuana,
  • increased hours of sleep, and
  • improved social and spiritual health-related quality of life. 

An analysis of the outcome data one year after baseline published in Preventive Medicine (2010) found that, compared to young adults in a control, those receiving InShape PPW continued to show significant ( 

  • reductions in driving after drinking,
  • increases in moderate exercise,
  • improvements in social health-related quality of life,
  • improvements in spiritual health-related quality of life, and
  • improvements in recent activity. 

InShape PPW Study II (2012)

A subsequent study published in the Journal of American College Health evaluating InShape PPW in a computer-based format with 200 college-aged young adults found that, compared to a computer control, students given the InShape PPW wellness-based prevention lesson had significantly ( 

  • Less intentions to drink alcohol,
  • Less intentions to smoke cigarettes,
  • Less intentions to use marijuana,
  • More positive alcohol use social norms,
  • More positive cigarette smoking social norms, and
  • More positive marijuana use social norms. 

InShape PPW Study III (2007)

In another study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, 155 students attending a university health clinic were randomized to receive either a health behavior contract, or an InShape tailored consultation with or without the contract ( 

College students receiving the InShape program showed significantly:

  • greater body image satisfaction compared to those receiving the contract only. 

These findings indicate that the InShape Prevention Plus Wellness program can also improve the body image of young participants.   


InShape PPW Study IV Implemented Online with Peer Coaches (2022)

A study published in Preventive Medicine Reports tested the single-session InShape Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW) program for improving multiple health behaviors among United States college students. 

The InShape PPW intervention, based on the Behavior-Image Model, was assessed for its efficacy using a single arm repeated measures study conducted over 12 weeks.

Follow-up measures were completed at 2-, 6-, and 12-weeks post session to assess changes in wellness behaviors.

Linear mixed effects models for repeated measures were used to analyze the association between intervention implementation on within-subject changes in physical activity, sedentary behavior, diet, general health, emotional wellness, and substance use.

A total of 121 participants enrolled in the study and 90 (74.4%) completed the health coach session (71% female).

At first follow-up, statistically significant increases were observed in (

  • vigorous physical activity days/week,
  • moderate physical activity days/week,
  • general health,
  • emotional wellness, 
  • significant decreases in cannabis use,  
  • significant decreases in alcohol consumption, and 
  • many of these changes were sustained at second and third follow-up.

Together, these published research findings indicate that InShape PPW is effective in preventing and reducing substance use and related risk factors, and increasing health promoting behaviors among young adults.  It was also found to enhance various measures of health-related quality of life of college students. 

Some of the positive outcomes from the brief InShape PPW lesson lasted for up to a year.  InShape PPW is an effective wellness-based prevention intervention in a single in-person lesson, and has potential as a self-administered computer-based prevention intervention and implemented online with trained peer coaches.    


Other studies evaluating Prevention Plus Wellness-based programs have reported additional positive outcomes, including: 

1.Increased health behavior goal setting and decreased cigarette smoking and alcohol use frequency and quantity with effect sizes larger for substance using youth and included frequency and quantity of cigarettes and frequency and heavy use and problems with alcohol/drug use.

2.Significant improvements on alcohol and marijuana use, exercise, nutrition, and college and career preparation among youth.

3.Significant improvements in alcohol quantity/frequency, fruit & veggie consumption, and relaxation activities among youth.

These studies were published in: 

1.Psychology of Addictive Behaviors:

2.American Journal of Health Promotion:

3.Journal of Behavioral Medicine: