, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 155-171

Advances in Statistical Methods for Substance Abuse Prevention Research

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Abstract

The paper describes advances in statistical methods for prevention research with a particular focus on substance abuse prevention. Standard analysis methods are extended to the typical research designs and characteristics of the data collected in prevention research. Prevention research often includes longitudinal measurement, clustering of data in units such as schools or clinics, missing data, and categorical as well as continuous outcome variables. Statistical methods to handle these features of prevention data are outlined. Developments in mediation, moderation, and implementation analysis allow for the extraction of more detailed information from a prevention study. Advancements in the interpretation of prevention research results include more widespread calculation of effect size and statistical power, the use of confidence intervals as well as hypothesis testing, detailed causal analysis of research findings, and meta-analysis. The increased availability of statistical software has contributed greatly to the use of new methods in prevention research. It is likely that the Internet will continue to stimulate the development and application of new methods.