Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 169-180

First online:

Storytelling for Empowerment: Decreasing At-Risk Youth's Alcohol and Marijuana Use

  • Annabelle NelsonAffiliated withThe WHEEL Council and the Fielding Graduate Institute
  • , Brian ArthurAffiliated withUniversity of Arizona

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The Storytelling for Empowerment Program decreased marijuana and alcohol use in high risk middle school youth, aged 11–15, across two years of implementation (Cohort 98 and Cohort 99). The program was a unique combination of cultural empowerment, cognitive skills, storytelling and the arts for emotional expression. A quasi-experimental research design compared participants' pre and posttest responses on drug use and also compared participants' responses to those from students who attended comparison schools who did not receive the program. High contact participants were defined as being those above the median of contact hours for that year. For Cohort 98 this was 28 hours and for Cohort 99 this was 19.75 hours. High contact participants had the most marked changes with a decrease in their alcohol and marijuana use. In addition, all participants in the last year of the program regardless of contact hours decreased their alcohol use and increased in their resistancy to drug use.

prevention alcohol storytelling