Probing the effects of individual components in multiple component prevention programs

Stephen West, Leona S. Aiken, Michael Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Assessing the contributions of individual components in multi-component interventions poses complex challenges for prevention researchers. We review the strengths and weaknesses of designs and analyses that may be useful in answering three questions: (1) Is each of the individual components contributing to the outcome? (2) Is the program optimal? and (3), Through what processes are the components of the program achieving their effects? Factorial and fractional factorial designs in which a systematically selected portion of all possible treatment combinations is implemented are used to address question 1. Response surface designs in which each component is quantitatively scaled are explored in relation to question 2. Mediational analysis, a hybrid of experimental and correlational approaches, is considered in relation to question 3. Design enhancements are offered that may further strengthen some of these techniques. These techniques offer promise of enhancing both the basic science and applied science contributions of prevention research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-605
Number of pages35
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1993


  • mediational analysis
  • multiple component intervention
  • optimal design
  • prevention research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Probing the effects of individual components in multiple component prevention programs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this