Prevention Science

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 411–423 | Cite as

Testing the Universality of the Effects of the Communities That Care Prevention System for Preventing Adolescent Drug Use and Delinquency

  • Sabrina OesterleEmail author
  • J. David Hawkins
  • Abigail A. Fagan
  • Robert D. Abbott
  • Richard F. Catalano


Universal community-oriented interventions are an important component in the prevention of youth health and behavior problems. Testing the universality of the effects of an intervention that was designed to be universal is important because it provides information about how the program operates and for whom and under what conditions it is most effective. The present study examined whether the previously established significant effects of the universal, community-based Communities That Care (CTC) prevention program on the prevalence of substance use and the variety of delinquent behaviors held equally for boys and girls and in risk-related subgroups defined by early substance use, early delinquency, and high levels of community-targeted risk at baseline. Interaction analyses of data from a panel of 4,407 students followed from Grade 5 to Grade 8 in the first randomized trial of CTC in 12 matched community pairs suggests that CTC reduced students’ substance use and delinquency equally across risk-related subgroups and gender, with two exceptions: The effect of CTC on reducing substance use in 8th grade was stronger for boys than girls and the impact of CTC on reducing 8th-grade delinquency was stronger for students who were nondelinquent at baseline.


Universal community intervention Risk moderation Gender Adolescents Substance use Delinquency 



This work was supported by a research grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01 DA015183-03) 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 wish to acknowledge the contributions of the communities participating in the Community Youth Development Study and the collaborating state offices of drug abuse prevention in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. The authors would like to thank Dr. David M. Murray for his consultation on the power analyses.

Richard F. Catalano is a board member of Channing Bete Company, distributor of Supporting School Success ® and Guiding Good Choices ®. These programs were used in some communities in the study that produced the data set used in this paper.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabrina Oesterle
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. David Hawkins
    • 1
  • Abigail A. Fagan
    • 2
  • Robert D. Abbott
    • 3
  • Richard F. Catalano
    • 1
  1. 1.Social Development Research GroupUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Criminology and Criminal JusticeUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.College of EducationUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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