Describing Teacher–Student Interactions: A Qualitative Assessment of Teacher Implementation of the 7th Grade keepin’ it REAL Substance Use Intervention

  • Jonathan PettigrewEmail author
  • Michelle Miller-Day
  • YoungJu Shin
  • Michael L. Hecht
  • Janice L. Krieger
  • John W. Graham
Original paper


Variations in the delivery of school-based substance use prevention curricula affect students’ acquisition of the lesson content and program outcomes. Although adaptation is sometimes viewed as a lack of fidelity, it is unclear what types of variations actually occur in the classroom. This observational study investigated teacher and student behaviors during implementation of a middle school-based drug prevention curriculum in 25 schools across two Midwestern states. Trained observers coded videos of 276 lessons, reflecting a total of 31 predominantly Caucasian teachers (10 males and 21 females) in 73 different classes. Employing qualitative coding procedures, the study provides a working typology of implementation patterns based on varying levels of teacher control and student participation. These patterns are fairly consistent across lessons and across classes of students, suggesting a teacher-driven delivery model where teachers create a set of constraints within which students vary their engagement. Findings provide a descriptive basis grounded in observation of classroom implementation that can be used to test models of implementation fidelity and quality as well as impact training and other dissemination research.


Implementation Delivery Substance use prevention Adolescent health 



We would like to thank the administrators, schools, teachers, and students who participated in this research. In addition, we thank those who processed and coded videos: D. Ebersole, A. Heflin, S. Kodish, S. Maron, and E. Reichert. This publication was supported by Grant Number R01DA021670 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to The Pennsylvania State University (Michael Hecht, Principal Investigator). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Society for Community Research and Action 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Pettigrew
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Michelle Miller-Day
    • 1
    • 3
  • YoungJu Shin
    • 1
    • 4
  • Michael L. Hecht
    • 1
  • Janice L. Krieger
    • 5
  • John W. Graham
    • 1
  1. 1.Penn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  3. 3.Chapman UniversityOrangeUSA
  4. 4.Indiana University Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA
  5. 5.The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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