Primary prevention of drug use with third grade children: a skills intervention using rehearsal-plus

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Virginia Tech

The effectiveness of a shor-term prevention program to increase drug refusal behavior in elementary school children was assessed. Fifty-seven third grade children were randomly assigned to one of three groups: rehearsal-plus, traditional, and control. Children in the rehearsal-plus group were taught drug knowledge, assertiveness skills, decision making skills, and specific drug refusal techniques in the context of a skills-based strategy. This procedure included behavioral training and elaborative rehearsal. The traditional group targeted the same components, drug knowledge, assertiveness skills, decision making skills, and drug refusal skills, and employed a general educational-based approach to enhance children's functioning. Training occurred in three socially validated situations corresponding to settings where children are likely to be offered drugs. Assessment was carried out at pre- and post-test phases. It was hypothesized that children in the rehearsal-plus group would outperform those in the traditional and control groups on targeted responses. The results suggest that the rehearsal-plus procedure was most effective in enhancing desired behavior.