Results of an Independent Evaluation of Project ALERT Delivered in Schools by Cooperative Extension
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Reported are results of an independent effectiveness study of the Project ALERT drug prevention program implemented in eight Pennsylvania middle schools by outside program leaders employed by Cooperative Extension. In this randomized, 2-cohort longitudinal evaluation, 1,649 seventh-grade students completed a pretest and four waves of posttests over the 2-year program and 1-year follow-up. Project ALERT's effectiveness was tested through a 3-level hierarchical linear model. Analyses failed to yield any positive effects for substance use or mediators for use in the adult or teen-assisted delivery of the curriculum. An extensive set of additional analyses detected no differential program effects by student risk level, gender, school, or level of implementation quality. Potential explanations for outcomes relative to Project ALERT's original effectiveness trial are discussed, as well as implications for future research, including the need to conduct independent effectiveness studies of previously validated programs in a variety of contexts.
KEY WORDS:substance use prevention evaluation effectiveness study Project ALERT
This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (RO1DA12011). We wish to thank Frances Burden, Gretchen Ruth, and Brent Teasdale for their invaluable assistance with data analysis. We thank Dr. Susan McHale for her important contributions to the study's early conceptualization
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