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Substance misuse and associated health-risking behaviors are prevalent in emerging adulthood. There is a knowledge gap concerning the post-high school effects of community-based delivery systems for universal preventive interventions implemented during young adolescence. This study reports effects of the PROSPER delivery system through age 19, 7.5 years past baseline.
A cohort sequential design included 28 public school districts randomly assigned to the PROSPER partnership delivery system or usual-programming conditions. PROSPER community teams implemented a family-focused intervention in 6th grade and a school-based intervention in 7th grade. Outcomes for the age 19, post-high school report included lifetime, current, and frequency of substance misuse, as well as antisocial and health-risking sexual behaviors. Intent-to-treat, multi-level analyses of covariance of point-in-time outcomes were conducted, along with analyses of risk-related moderation of intervention effects.
Results showed emerging adults from PROSPER communities reported significantly lower substance misuse across a range of types of substances, with relative reduction rates of up to 41.0%. No significant findings were observed for associated antisocial and health-risking sexual behavior indices; or for lifetime rates of sexually transmitted infections. Risk-related moderation effects were non-significant, suggesting generally comparable outcomes across higher- and lower-risk subgroups of emerging adults.
The PROSPER delivery system for brief universal preventive interventions has potential for public health impact by reducing long-term substance misuse, with positive results extending beyond high school.
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