Prevention Science

, 9:178 | Cite as

Testing Communities That Care: The Rationale, Design and Behavioral Baseline Equivalence of the Community Youth Development Study

  • J. David HawkinsEmail author
  • Richard F. Catalano
  • Michael W. Arthur
  • Elizabeth Egan
  • Eric C. Brown
  • Robert D. Abbott
  • David M. Murray


Recent advances in prevention science provide evidence that adolescent health and behavior problems can be prevented by high-quality prevention services. However, many communities continue to use prevention strategies that have not been shown to be effective. Studying processes for promoting the dissemination and high-quality implementation of prevention strategies found to be effective in controlled research trials has become an important focus for prevention science. The Communities That Care prevention operating system provides manuals, tools, training, and technical assistance to activate communities to use advances in prevention science to plan and implement community prevention services to reduce adolescent substance use, delinquency, and related health and behavior problems. This paper describes the rationale, aims, intervention, and design of the Community Youth Development Study, a randomized controlled community trial of the Communities That Care system, and investigates the baseline comparability of the 12 intervention and 12 control communities in the study. Results indicate baseline similarity of the intervention and control communities in levels of adolescent drug use and antisocial behavior prior to the Communities That Care intervention. Strengths and limitations of the study’s design are discussed.


Prevention Design Experimental design 



This work was supported by a research grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01 DA015183-01A1) with co-funding from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. The authors are grateful for the contributions of the communities participating in the CYDS and the collaboration of the state drug abuse prevention agencies of Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.


  1. Arthur, M. W., Glaser, R. R., & Hawkins, J. D. (2005). Steps towards community-level resilience: Community adoption of science-based prevention programming. In R. D. Peters, B. Leadbeater, & R. J. McMahon (Eds.), Resilience in children, families, and communities: Linking context to practice and policy (pp. 177–194). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arthur, M. W., Hawkins, J. D., Pollard, J. A., Catalano, R. F., & Baglioni Jr., A. J. (2002). Measuring risk and protective factors for substance use, delinquency, and other adolescent problem behaviors: The Communities That Care Youth Survey. Evaluation Review, 26, 575–601.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berleman, W. C. (1980). Reports of the National Juvenile Justice Assessment Centers. Juvenile delinquency prevention experiments: A review and analysis. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.Google Scholar
  4. Biglan, A. (1995). Translating what we know about the context of antisocial behavior into a lower prevalence of such behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 28, 479–492.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boothroyd, R. A., Banks, S. M., Evans, M. E., Greenbaum, P. E., & Brown, E. (2004). Untangling the web: An approach to analyzing the impacts of individually tailored, multicomponent treatment interventions. Mental Health Services Research, 6, 143–153.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 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, 1106–1112.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bracht, N., & Kingsbury, L. (1990). Community organization principles in health promotion: A five-stage model. In N. Bracht (Ed.), Health promotion at the community level (pp. 66–88). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, E. C., Catalano, R. F., Fleming, C. B., Haggerty, K. P., & Abbott, R. D. (2005). Adolescent substance use outcomes in the Raising Healthy Children project: A two-part latent growth curve analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 699–710.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown, E. C., Hawkins, J. D., Arthur, M. W., Abbott, R. D., & Van Horn, M. L. (2008). Multilevel analysis of a measure of community prevention collaboration. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41, 115–126.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brown, E. C., Hawkins, J. D., Arthur, M. W., Briney, J. S., & Abbott, R. D. (2007). Effects of Communities That Care on prevention services systems: Outcomes from the Community Youth Development Study at 1.5 years. Prevention Science, 8, 180–191.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Butterfoss, F. D., Goodman, R. M., & Wandersman, A. (1993). Community coalitions for prevention and health promotion. Health Education Research, 8, 315–330.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Catalano, R. F., & Hawkins, J. D. (1996). The Social Development Model: A theory of antisocial behavior. In J. D. Hawkins (Ed.), Delinquency and crime: Current theories (pp. 149–197). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Chou, C. P., Montgomery, S., Pentz, M. A., Rohrbach, L. A., Johnson, C. A., Flay, B. R., et al. (1998). Effects of a community-based prevention program in decreasing drug use in high-risk adolescents. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 944–948.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Coie, J. D., Watt, N. F., West, S. G., Hawkins, J. D., Asarnow, J. R., Markman, H. J., et al. (1993). The science of prevention. A conceptual framework and some directions for a national research program. American Psychologist, 48, 1013–1022.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eng, E., & Parker, E. (1990). Community competence and health: Definitional, conceptual, and measurement issues. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, Health Promotion and Health Education Section, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Ennett, S. T., Ringwalt, C. L., Thorne, J., Rohrbach, L. A., Vincus, A., Simons-Rudolph, A., et al. (2003). A comparison of current practice in school-based substance use prevention programs with meta-analysis findings. Prevention Science, 4, 1–14.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fagan, A. A., Hanson, K., Hawkins, J. D., & Arthur, M. W. (2008). Bridging science to practice: Achieving prevention program implementation fidelity in the Community Youth Development Study. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41, 235–249.Google Scholar
  18. Feinberg, M. E., Greenberg, M. T., & Osgood, D. (2004). Readiness, functioning, and perceived effectiveness in community prevention coalitions: A study of Communities That Care. American Journal of Community Psychology, 33, 163–176.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Feinberg, M. E., Greenberg, M. T., Osgood, D. W., Anderson, A., & Babinski, L. (2002). The effects of training community leaders in prevention science: Communities That Care in Pennsylvania. Evaluation & Program Planning, 25, 245–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Feng, Z., & Thompson, B. (2002). Some design issues in a community intervention trial. Controlled Clinical Trials, 23, 431–449.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Glaser, R. R., Van Horn, M. L., Arthur, M. W., Hawkins, J. D., & Catalano, R. F. (2005). Measurement properties of the Communities That Care Youth Survey across demographic groups. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 21, 73–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gottfredson, D. C., & Gottfredson, G. D. (2002). Quality of school-based prevention programs: Results from a national survey. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 39, 3–35.Google Scholar
  23. Gottfredson, D. C., Wilson, D. B., & Najaka, S. S. (2002). School-based crime prevention. In L. W. Sherman, D. P. Farrington, B. C. Welsh, & D. L. MacKenzie (Eds.), Evidence based crime prevention (pp. 56–164). United Kingdom: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Gottlieb, N. H., Brinke, S. G., & Gingiss, P. L. (1993). Correlates of coalition effectiveness: The Smoke Free Class of 2000 Program. Health Education Research, 8, 375–384.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Greenberg, M. T., Osgood, D. W., Babinski, L., & Anderson, A. (1999). Developing community readiness for prevention: Initial evaluation of the Pennsylvania Communities That Care Initiative. Presented at the Society for Prevention Research, New Orleans, LA, June.Google Scholar
  26. Hallfors, D. D., Cho, H., Livert, D., & Kadushin, C. (2002). Fighting back against substance abuse: Are community coalitions winning? American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 23, 237–245.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hallfors, D., & Godette, D. (2002). Will the ‘Principles of Effectiveness’ improve prevention practice? Early findings from a diffusion study. Health Education Research, 17, 461–470.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hansen, W. B. (1992). School-based substance abuse prevention: A review of the state of the art in curriculum, 1980–1990. Health Education Research, 7, 403–430.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Harwood, H. J., Fountain, D., & Fountain, G. (1999). Economic cost of alcohol and drug abuse in the United States, 1992: A report. Addiction, 94, 631–635.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hawkins, J. D., & Catalano, R. F. (2004). Communities That Care: Prevention strategies guide. South Deerfield, MA: Channing Bete.Google Scholar
  31. Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., & Arthur, M. W. (2002). Promoting science-based prevention in communities. Addictive Behaviors, 27, 951–976.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., & Miller, J. Y. (1992). Risk and protective factors for alcohol and other drug problems in adolescence and early adulthood: Implications for substance-abuse prevention. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 64–105.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hawkins, J. D., Van Horn, M. L., & Arthur, M. W. (2004). Community variation in risk and protective factors and substance use outcomes. Prevention Science, 5, 213–220.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Holder, H. D., Gruenewald, P. J., Ponicki, W. R., Treno, A. J., Grube, J. W., Saltz, R. F., et al. (2000). Effect of community-based interventions on high-risk drinking and alcohol-related injuries. Journal of the American Medical Association, 284, 2341–2347.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kegler, M. C., Steckler, A., McLeroy, K., & Malek, S. H. (1998). Factors that contribute to effective community health promotion coalitions: A study of 10 Project ASSIST coalitions in North Carolina. Health Education and Behavior, 25, 338–353.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Klerman, L. V., Santelli, J. S., & Klein, J. D. (2005). Editors’ commentary: So what have we learned? The editors’ comments on the coalition approach to teen pregnancy. Journal of Adolescent Health, 37, S115–S118.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kumpfer, K. L., Shur, G. H., Ross, J. G., Bunnell, K. K., & Librett, J. J. (1993). Measurements in prevention: A manual on selecting and using instruments to evaluate prevention programs. CSAP Technical Report #8. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
  38. Merzel, C., & D’Afflitti, J. (2003). Reconsidering community-based health promotion: Promise, performance, and potential. American Journal of Public Health, 93, 557–574.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mihalic, S., Fagan, A., Irwin, K., Ballard, D., & Elliott, D. (2004). Blueprints for Violence Prevention (NCJ 204274). Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention.Google Scholar
  40. Mrazek, P. J., Biglan, A., & Hawkins, J. D. (2004). Community-monitoring systems: Tracking and improving the well-being of America’s children and adolescents. Society for Prevention Research. Retrieved January 24, 2008, from
  41. Murray, D. M. (1998). Design and analysis of group-randomized trials. Monographs in Epidemiology and Biostatistics (vol. 27). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Murray, D. M., Van Horn, M. L., Hawkins, J. D., & Arthur, M. W. (2006). Analysis strategies for a community trial to reduce adolescent ATOD use: A comparison of random coefficient and ANOVA/ANCOVA models. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 27, 188–206.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. National Institute on Drug Abuse (1997). Community readiness for drug abuse prevention: Issues, tips and tools. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.Google Scholar
  44. Oetting, E. R., Donnermayer, J. F., Plested, B. A., Edwards, R. W., Kelly, K., & Beauvais, F. (1995). Assessing community readiness for prevention. The International Journal of the Addictions, 30, 659–683.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Olsen, M. K., & Schafer, J. L. (2001). A two-part random-effects model for semicontinuous longitudinal data. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 96, 730–745.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Prestby, J. E., Wandersman, A., Florin, P., Rich, R. C., & Chavis, D. (1990). Benefits, costs, incentive management and participation in voluntary organizations: A means to understanding and promoting empowerment. American Journal of Community Psychology, 18, 117–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Quinby, R. K., Fagan, A. A., Hanson, K., Brooke-Weiss, B., Arthur, M. W., & Hawkins, J. D. (2008). Installing the Communities That Care prevention system: Implementation progress and fidelity in a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Community Psychology, 36, 313–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Salonen, J. T., Kottke, T. E., Jacobs, D. R., & Hannan, P. J. (1986). Analysis of community-based cardiovascular disease prevention studies—Evaluation issues in the North Karelia Project and the Minnesota Heart Health Program. International Journal of Epidemiology, 15, 176–182.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Smithson, M., & Verkuilen, J. (2006). A better lemon squeezer? Maximum-likelihood regression with beta-distributed dependent variables. Psychological Methods, 11, 54–71.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Smolkowski, K., Biglan, A., Dent, C., & Seeley, J. (2006). The multilevel structure of four adolescent problems. Prevention Science, 7, 239–256.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Spoth, R. L., & Greenberg, M. T. (2005). Toward a comprehensive strategy for effective practitioner-scientist partnerships and larger-scale community health and well-being. American Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 107–126.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Spoth, R., Reyes, M. L., Redmond, C., & Shin, C. (1999). Assessing a public health approach to delay onset and progression of adolescent substance use: Latent transition and loglinear analyses of longitudinal family preventive intervention outcomes. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 619–630.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tobler, N. S. (1986). Meta-analysis of 143 adolescent drug prevention programs: Quantitative outcome results of program participants compared to a control or comparison group. Journal of Drug Issues, 16, 537–567.Google Scholar
  54. Wagenaar, A. C., Murray, D. M., Gehan, J. P., Wolfson, M., Toomey, T. L., Perry, C. L., et al. (2000). Communities mobilizing for change on alcohol: Outcomes from a randomized community trial. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 61, 85–94.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Wagner, E. H., Koespell, T. D., Anderman, C., Cheadle, A., Larry, S. G., Psaty, B. M., et al. (1991). The evaluation of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s community health promotion grant program design. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 44, 685–699.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wandersman, A. (2003). Community science: Bridging the gap between science and practice with community-centered models. American Journal of Community Psychology, 31, 227–242.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wandersman, A., & Florin, P. (2003). Community interventions and effective prevention. American Psychologist, 58, 441–448.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Weissberg, R. P., Kumpfer, K. L., & Seligman, M. E. (2003). Prevention that works for children and youth: An introduction. American Psychologist, 58, 425–432.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Welsh, B. C., & Farrington, D. P. (2006). Evidence-based crime prevention. In B. C. Welsh & D. P. Farrington (Eds.), Preventing crime: What works for children, offenders, victims and places (pp. 1–17). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. David Hawkins
    • 1
    Email author
  • Richard F. Catalano
    • 1
  • Michael W. Arthur
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Egan
    • 1
  • Eric C. Brown
    • 1
  • Robert D. Abbott
    • 2
  • David M. Murray
    • 3
  1. 1.Social Development Research GroupUniversity of Washington School of Social WorkSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Educational PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Division of Epidemiology, College of Medicine and Public HealthOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

Personalised recommendations