An evaluation study assessed the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a combined classroom curriculum and parental intervention on selfreported alcohol use and alcohol-related harms in a total of 105 post-primary schools in Northern Ireland (NI) and Glasgow/Inverclyde Educational Authority areas.
A 12,738 male and female secondary school students. Baseline (T0) surveys took place when children were in school year 8 or S1. Schools were randomised (1 : 1) to the Steps Towards Alcohol Misuse Prevention Programme (STAMPP) or to education as normal (EAN).
STAMPP combined a school-based alcohol harm reduction curriculum [an adapted version of the School Health and Alcohol Harm Reduction Project (SHAHRP)] and a brief parental intervention designed to support parents in setting family rules around drinking. The classroom component comprised two phases delivered over 2 years, and the parental component comprised a standardised presentation delivered by a trained facilitator at specially arranged parent evenings on school premises. This was followed up a few weeks later by an information leaflet mailed to all intervention pupils’ parents highlighting the main points of the evening.
The main outcome measures were (1) Self-reported heavy episodic drinking [HED] (defined as selfreported consumption of ≥ 6 units in a single episode in the previous 30 days for male students and ≥ 4.5 units for female students) and (2) the number of selfreported harms (harms caused by own drinking). These were both assessed at 33 months from baseline (T3).
At final follow-up (T3), data were available for 5160 intervention and 5073 control pupils for the HED outcome, and for 5234 intervention and 5146 control pupils for the self-reported harms outcome. The intervention reduced self-reported heavy episodic drinking compared with EAN (p < 0.001), but did not reduce self-reported harms associated with own drinking. The odds ratio for the intervention effect on HED was 0.596 (95% CI 0.490 to 0.725). The mean cost of delivery per school was £818 and the mean cost per individual was £15. There were no clear cost savings in terms of service utilisation associated with the intervention. The process evaluation showed that the classroom component engaged and was enjoyed by pupils, and was valued by teachers. Although the classroom component was largely delivered as intended, there was very low attendance at the parent/carer event; however, all intervention pupils’ parents/carers received an intervention leaflet.
The results of this trial provide some support for the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of STAMPP in reducing heavy episodic (binge) drinking, but not in reducing self-reported alcohol-related harms, in young people over a 33-month follow-up period. As there was low uptake of the parental component, it is uncertain whether or not the intervention effect was accounted for by the classroom component alone.
Source: Steps Towards Alcohol Misuse Prevention Programme (STAMPP): a school- and community-based cluster randomised controlled trial. Sumnall H, Agus A, Cole J, Doherty P, Foxcroft D, Harvey S, McKay M, Murphy L, Percy A. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; 2017 Apr.