Colleagues from the Institute of Psychology and the Center for Applied Developmental Science of the Jena University, have developed a programme for use in schools that aims to give teenagers basic life skills, but more specifically to reduce teenagers susceptibility to peer pressure and therefore early use of alcohol and cigarettes. The scheme is called IPSY (an acronym for Information and Psychosocial Competence).
Source: Do Girls Profit More? Gender-Specific Effectiveness of a Life Skills Program Against Alcohol Consumption in Early Adolescence.K. Weichold, A. Brambosch, R. K. Silbereisen. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 2010; DOI: 10.1177/0272431610384489
Within the IPSY programme pupils learn general skills such as how to deal with stress and anxiety or with their own self image. Pupils they work on interactive learning modules on topics like “School and Me“ or “Myself and Others“. They discuss their results with classmates and teachers. Role play, movement and relaxation techniques are also used. The programme consists of 15 modules of 90 minutes in the class level 5, followed by a development phase of seven modules in classes 6 and 7.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture in Thuringia, IPSY has been introduced in more than 100 Thuringian schools since 2003. The programme aims to target children before their first contact with alcohol and cigarettes.
“Information alone is not good enough” according to Dr Karina Weichold of the Jena University (Germany) Because even children know that alcohol consumption and smoking can cause health damage. “Therefore prevention needs to start somewhere else.“
In a study based on about 1700 school children, aged between 10 and 15 years psychologists were able to show how effective their school-based training and information programme was. The Jena scientists presented the results of their study in the Journal of Early Adolescence.
The developmental psychologists headed by Professor Dr Rainer K. Silbereisen state that “The age-typical increase in the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes is lower in the group of pupils who took part in our programme than in the control groups. Moreover, the initiation age is being delayed“.