Preventing early adolescent substance use: A family-centered strategy for the public middle school

Thomas J. Dishion, Kathryn Kavanagh, Alison Schneiger, Sarah Nelson, Noah K. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

182 Scopus citations


The Adolescent Transitions Program (ATP) promotes student adjustment and reduces risk within a public school setting, focusing primarily on parenting practices using a tiered, multilevel prevention strategy. A description is given of the program, levels of engagement, and intervention effects. Within each school, multiethnic students (N = 672) and their families were randomly assigned at the individual level to a control condition or the ATP intervention. Analyses focus on the longitudinal effects of the ATP intervention on self-reported substance use through middle school and the 1st year of high school (Grades 6, 7, 8, and 9). Levels of engagement in the selected and indicated interventions were somewhat less than expected. Despite relatively low levels of engagement, the intervention reduced initiation of substance use in both at-risk and typically developing students. These findings are discussed with respect to lessons learned about parent engagement, optimizing strategies for schoolwide implementation, and the promise of embedding family interventions within the public school ecology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-201
Number of pages11
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002


  • Adolescent substance use (drugs)
  • Engagement
  • Parenting
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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