What Works in Prevention: Principles of Effective Prevention Programs

  • Nation M
  • Crusto C
  • Wandersman A
 et al. 
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Abstract

The high prevalence of drug abuse, delinquency, youth violence, and other youth problems creates a need to identify and disseminate effective prevention strategies. General principles gleaned from effective interventions may help prevention practitioners select, modify, or create more effective programs. Using a review-of-reviews ap- proach across 4 areas (substance abuse, risky sexual be- havior, school failure, and juvenile delinquency and vio- lence), the authors identified 9 characteristics that were consistently associated with effective prevention programs: Programs were comprehensive, included varied teaching methods, provided sufficient dosage, were theory driven, provided opportunities for positive relationships, were ap- propriately timed, were socioculturally relevant, included outcome evaluation, and involved well-trained staff. This synthesis can inform the planning and implementation of problem-specific prevention interventions, provide a ratio- nale for multiproblem prevention programs, and serve as a basis for further research.

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Authors

  • Maury Nation

  • Cindy Crusto

  • Abraham Wandersman

  • Karol L. Kumpfer

  • Diana Seybolt

  • Erin Morrissey-Kane

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