Universal school-based interventions that address adolescent ‘resilience’ may represent a means of reducing adolescent substance use, however previous systematic reviews have not examined the effectiveness of such an intervention approach.
A systematic review was undertaken to 1) assess whether universal school-based ‘resilience’ interventions are effective in reducing the prevalence of tobacco, alcohol or illicit substance use by adolescents, and 2) describe such effectiveness per intervention characteristic subgroups.
Eligible studies were peer-reviewed reports (1994- 2015) of randomised controlled trials including participants aged 5-18 years that reported adolescent tobacco, alcohol or illicit substance use, and implemented a universal school-based ‘resilience’ intervention (i.e. those addressing both individual (e.g. self-esteem) and environmental (e.g. school connectedness) protective factors of resilience).
Nineteen eligible studies were identified from 16,619 records (tobacco: n=15, alcohol: n=17, illicit: n=11). Overall intervention effects were evident for illicit substance use, but not tobacco and alcohol
The authors say that such results support the implementation of universal school-based interventions that address ‘resilience’ protective factors to reduce adolescent illicit substance use, however suggest alternate approaches are required for tobacco and alcohol use.
Source: Systematic review of universal school-based ‘resilience’ interventions targeting adolescent tobacco, alcohol or illicit substance use: A meta-analysis. Hodder RK, Freund M, Wolfenden L, Bowman J, Nepal S, Dray J, Kingsland M, Yoong SL, Wiggers J. Prev Med. 2017 Jul;100:248-268. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.04.003