The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 449–465

The Impact of Project Northland on Selected MMPI-A Problem Behavior Scales

  • Cheryl L. Perry
  • Susanne Lee
  • Melissa H. Stigler
  • Kian Farbakhsh
  • Kelli A. Komro
  • Abigail H. Gewirtz
  • Carolyn L. Williams
Original Paper


Project Northland was a randomized community trial to prevent or delay alcohol use among adolescents. Students in the intervention communities were exposed to a multi-component prevention program in early adolescence and high school. This paper examines the impact of Project Northland on the trajectories of four scales of the adolescent form of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-A). Students in the intervention communities demonstrated lower rates of growth of family problems and alcohol/drug use proneness than students in the delayed-program control communities. The results were more robust for baseline non-drinkers. Editors’ Strategic Implications: This experimental study extends the scope of the impact of Project Northland, already recognized as a model substance abuse prevention program by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The results suggest that focused prevention programs have the potential to impact young adolescents’ lives more broadly. Replication and further examination of the mechanisms by which risk factors and outcomes are modified is necessary, but school administrators and public health officials could learn from this promising program and evaluation.


Prevention program MMPI Adolescents Family problems School problems 


  1. Botvin, G. J., Baker, E., Dusenbury, L., Botvin, E. M., & Diaz, T. (1995). Long-term follow-up results of a randomized drug abuse prevention trial in a white middle-class population. Journal of the American Medical Association, 273(14), 1106–1112.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bray, J. H., Adams, G. J., Getz, J. G., & Stovall, T. (2001). Interactive effects of individuation, family factors, and stress on adolescent alcohol use. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 71(4), 436–449.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Butcher, J. N., & Williams, C. L. (1992). Essentials of MMPI-2 and MMPI-A interpretation. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  4. Cicchetti, D., & Cohen, D. (1995). Developmental psychopathology. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  5. Colder, D. R., & Chassin, L. (1999). The psychosocial characteristics of alcohol users versus problem users: Data from a study of adolescents at risk. Development and Psychopathology, 11, 311–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Donovan, J. E., Leech, S. L., Zucker, R. A., Loveland-Cherry, C. J., Hester, J. M., Fitzgerald, H. E., et al. (2004). Really underage drinkers: Alcohol use among elementary students. Alcoholism. Clinical and Experimental Research, 28(7), 341–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ellickson, P. L., McCaffrey, D. F., Ghosh-Dastidar, B., & Longshore, D. L. (2003). New inroads in preventing adolescent drug use: results from a large-scale trial of project ALERT in middle schools. American Journal of Public Health, 93(11), 1830–1836.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Ellickson, P. L., Tucker, J. S., & Klein, D. J. (2003). Ten-year prospective study of public health problems associated with early drinking. Pediatrics, 111(5), 949–955.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Flewelling, R. L., Austin, D., Hale, K., LaPlante, M., Liebig, M., Piaseki, L., et al. (2005). Implementing research-based substance abuse prevention in communities: Effects of a coalition-based prevention initiative in Vermont. Journal of Community Psychology, 33(3), 333–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Forbey, J. D., & Ben-Porath, Y. S. (2003). Incremental validity of the MMPI-A content scales in a residential treatment facility. Assessment, 10(2), 191–202.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grant, B. F., & Dawson, D. A. (1997). Age at onset of alcohol use and its association with DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence: Results from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey. Journal of Substance Abuse, 9, 103–110.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Greenblatt, J. C. (2000). Patterns of alcohol use among adolescents and associations with emotional and behavioral problems. Rockville, MD: Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Google Scholar
  13. Gruber, E., DiClemente, R. J., Anderson, M. M., & Lodico, M. (1996). Early drinking onset and its association with alcohol use and problem behavior in late adolescence. Preventive Medicine, 25(3), 293–300.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Guo, J., Collins, L. M., Hill, K. G., & Hawkins, J. D. (2000). Developmental pathways to alcohol abuse and dependence in young adulthood. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 61(6), 799–808.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Guo, J., Hawkins, J. D., Hill, K. G., & Abbott, R. D. (2001). Childhood and adolescent predictors of alcohol abuse and dependence in young adulthood. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 62(6), 754–762.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Henggeler, S. W., Clingempeel, W. G., Brondino, M. J., & Pickrel, S. G. (2002). Four-year follow-up of multisystemic therapy with substance-abusing and substance-dependent juvenile offenders. Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 41(7), 868–874.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hingson, R., Heeren, T., Levenson, S., Jamanka, A., & Voas, R. (2002). Age of drinking onset, driving after drinking, and involvement in alcohol related motor-vehicle crashes. Accident; Analysis & Prevention, 34(1), 85–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hingson, R., Heeren, T., Winter, M. R., & Wechsler, H. (2003). Early age of first drunkenness as a factor in college students’ unplanned and unprotected sex attributable to drinking. Pediatrics, 111(1), 34–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hipwell, A. E., White, H. R., Loeber, R., Southamer-Loeber, M., Chung, T., & Sembower, M. A. (2005). Young girls’ expectancies about the effects of alcohol, future intentions and patterns of use. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 66(5), 630–639.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Iannotti, R. J., Bush, P. J., & Weinfurt, K. P. (1996). Perception of friends’ use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana among urban schoolchildren: a longitudinal analysis. Addictive Behaviors, 21(5), 615–632.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Institute of Medicine (2004). Reducing underage drinking: A collective responsibility. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine, National Research Council. The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  22. Jackson, C., Henriksen, L., & Dickinson, D. (1999). Alcohol-specific socialization, parenting behaviors and alcohol use by children. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 60(3), 362–367.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2005). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2004. Vol 1: Secondary school students. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse.Google Scholar
  24. Joreskog, K., & Sorbom, D. (2005). LISREL 8.72. Lincolnwood, IL: Scientific Software International, Inc.Google Scholar
  25. Kaplow, J. B., Curran, P. J., & Dodge, K. A. (2002). Child, parent, and peer predictors of early-onset substance use: A multisite longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 30(3), 199–216.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Komro, K. A., Perry, C. L., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Williams, C. L., & Roel, J. P. (1999). Peer leadership in school and community alcohol use prevention activities. Journal of Health Education, 30(4), 202–208.Google Scholar
  27. Komro, K. A., Perry, C. L., Williams, C. L., Stigler, M. H., Farbakhsh, K., & Veblen-Mortenson, S. (2001). How did Project Northland reduce alcohol use among young adolescents? Analysis of mediating variables. Health Education Research, 16(1), 59–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kosterman, R., Hawkins, J. D., Guo, J., Catalano, R. F., & Abbott, R. D. (2000). The dynamics of alcohol and marijuana initiation: patterns and predictors of first use in adolescence. American Journal of Public Health, 90(3), 360–366.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Li, X., Stanton, B., & Feigelman, S. (2000). Impact of perceived parental monitoring on adolescent risk behavior over 4 years. Journal of Adolescent Health, 27(1), 49–56.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Liddle, H. A., Dakof, G. A., Parker, K., Diamond, G. S., Barrett, K., & Tejeda, M. (2001). Multidimensional family therapy for adolescent drug abuse: results of a randomized clinical trial. American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse, 27(4), 651–688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Marshal, M. P., & Chassin, L. (2000). Peer influence on adolescent alcohol use: The moderating role of parental support and discipline. Applied Developmental Science, 4(2), 8–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Micucci, J. A. (2002). Accuracy of MMPI-A scales ACK, MAC-R, and PRO in detecting comorbid substance abuse among psychiatric inpatients. Assessment, 9(2), 111–122.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Murray, R. P., Connett, J. E., Tyas, S. L., Bond, R., Ekuma, O., Silversides, C. K., et al. (2002). Alcohol volume, drinking pattern, and cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality: is there a U-shaped function?. American Journal of Epidemiol, 155(3), 242–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Perry, C. L., Williams, C. L., Forster, J. L., Wolfson, M., Wagenaar, A. C., Finnegan, J. R., et al. (1993). Background, conceptualization and design of a community-wide research program on adolescent alcohol use: Project Northland. Health Education Research, 8(1), 125–136.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Perry, C. L., Williams, C. L., Komro, K. A., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Forster, J. L., Bernstein-Lachter, R., et al. (2000). Project Northland high school interventions: Community action to reduce adolescent alcohol use. Health Education & Behavior, 27(1), 29–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Perry, C. L., Williams, C. L., Komro, K. A., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Stigler, M. H., Munson, K. A., et al. (2002). Project Northland: long-term outcomes of community action to reduce adolescent alcohol use. Health Education Research, 17(1), 117–132.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Perry, C. L., Williams, C. L., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Toomey, T. L., Komro, K. A., Anstine, P. S., et al. (1996). Project Northland: outcomes of a communitywide alcohol use prevention program during early adolescence. American Journal of Public Health, 86(7), 956–965.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  39. Resnick, M. D., Bearman, P. S., Blum, R. W., Bauman, K. E., Harris, K. M., Jones, J., et al. (1997). Protecting adolescents from harm. Findings from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health. Journal of American Medical Association, 278(10), 823–832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rinaldo, J. C., & Baer, R. A. (2003). Incremental validity of the MMPI-A content scales in the prediction of self-reported symptoms. Journal of Personality Assessment, 80(3), 309–318.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Singer, J. D., & Willett, J. B. (2003). Applied longitudinal data analysis: Modeling change and event occurrence. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Spoth, R., Redmond, C., & Lepper, H. (1999) Alcohol initiation outcomes of a universal family-focused preventive interventions: one- and two-year follow-ups of a controlled study. Journal of Studies on Alcohol Supplement, 13, 103–111.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Sroufe, L. A., & Rutter, M. (1984). The domain of developmental psychopathology. Child Development, 55(1), 17–29.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Stein, L. A., & Graham, J. R. (2001). Use of the MMPI-A to detect substance abuse in a juvenile correctional setting. Journal of Personality Assessment, 77(3), 508–523.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Stein, L. A. R., & Graham, J.R. (2005). Ability of substance abusers to escape detection on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-Adolescent (MMPI-A) in a juvenile correctional facility. Assessment, 12(1), 28–39.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stigler, M. H., Perry, C. L., Komro, K. A., Cudeck, R., & Williams, C. L. (2006). Teasing apart a multiple component approach to adolescent alcohol prevention: What worked in Project Northland?. Prevention Science, 7, 269–280.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Alcohol dependence or abuse and age at first use. The NSDUH report. Retrieved March 22, 2007, from Scholar
  48. Weed, N. C., Butcher, J. N., & Williams, C. L. (1994). Development of MMPI-A alcohol/drug problem scales. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 55(3), 296–302.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Williams, C. A., Butcher, J. N., Ben-Porath, Y. S., & Graham, J. R. (1992). MMPI-A content scales: Assessing psychopathology in adolescents. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  50. Williams, C. L., Perry, C. L., Dudovitz, B., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Anstine, P. S., Komro, K. A., et al. (1995a). A home-based prevention program for sixth grade alcohol use: Results from Project Northland. Journal of Primary Prevention, 16(2), 125–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Williams, C. L., Perry, C. L., Farbakhsh, K., & Veblen-Mortenson, S. (1999). Project Northland: comprehensive alcohol use prevention for young adolescents, their parents, schools, peers and communities. Journal of Studies on Alcohol Supplement, 13, 112–124.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Williams, C. L., Toomey, T. L., McGovern, P., Wagenaar, A. C., & Perry, C. L. (1995b). Development, reliability, and validity of self-report alcohol-use measures with young adolescents. The Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 4(3), 17–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cheryl L. Perry
    • 1
  • Susanne Lee
    • 2
  • Melissa H. Stigler
    • 1
  • Kian Farbakhsh
    • 2
  • Kelli A. Komro
    • 3
  • Abigail H. Gewirtz
    • 2
  • Carolyn L. Williams
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of TexasAustinUSA
  2. 2.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations