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Intervention Summary

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Project Venture

Project Venture is an outdoor experiential youth development program designed primarily for 5th- to 8th-grade American Indian youth. It aims to develop the social and emotional competence that facilitates youths' resistance to alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use. Based on traditional American Indian values such as family, learning from the natural world, spiritual awareness, service to others, and respect, Project Venture's approach is positive and strengths based. The program is designed to foster the development of positive self-concept, effective social interaction skills, a community service ethic, an internal locus of control, and improved decisionmaking and problem-solving skills. The central components of the program include a minimum of 20 1-hour classroom-based activities, such as problem-solving games and initiatives, conducted across the school year; weekly after-school, weekend, and summer skill-building experiential and challenge activities, such as hiking and camping; 3- to 10-day immersion summer adventure camps and wilderness treks; and community-oriented service learning and service leadership projects throughout the year.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Substance abuse prevention
Outcomes Review Date: October 2007
1: Use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other illicit drugs
2: Substance abuse risk and protective factors
Outcome Categories Alcohol
Drugs
Mental health
Tobacco
Ages 6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities American Indian or Alaska Native
Hispanic or Latino
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
White
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings School
Geographic Locations Rural and/or frontier
Tribal
Implementation History Since 1990, Project Venture has reached thousands of American Indian and other youth. The program has been implemented in more than 70 sites in more than 23 States, Canada, and Hungary.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations Project Venture has been adapted for Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic youth, as well as for youth of mixed ethnicity. The program also has been adapted specifically for female youth.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal
Selective

Quality of Research
Review Date: October 2007

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Carter, S. (with Letts, D., Tom, G., Tallant, A., Soce, B., Cleveland, R., et al.). (2005). FY 2005 final evaluation progress narrative report on Project Venture Middle School. Submitted to the New Mexico Department of Health Behavioral Health Services Division. Gallup, NM: National Indian Youth Leadership Project.

Study 2

Carter, S., Straits, K. J. E., & Hall, M. (2006). Project Venture: Evaluation of a positive, culture-based approach to substance abuse prevention with American Indian youth. Manuscript in preparation.

Carter, S., Straits, K. J. E., & Hall, M. (2007). Project Venture: Evaluation of an experiential, culturally-based approach to substance abuse prevention with American Indian youth. Journal of Experiential Education, 29(3), 397-400.

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other illicit drugs
Description of Measures Respondents indicated the number of days (0, 1-2, 3-5, 6-9, 10-19, 20-31) in the past month they used alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other illicit drugs.
Key Findings In one study, alcohol use increased for both intervention and control students from baseline to the 6-month follow-up, then leveled off among intervention students and continued to increase among control students from the 6- to 18-month follow-up (p < .05). In a second study, alcohol use from pre- to posttest remained the same among students in the intervention group and increased among students in the control group (p < .01). This difference represents a large effect size (partial eta-squared = 0.189).

From pre- to posttest, use of marijuana (p < .01) and other illicit drugs (cocaine, other stimulants, heroin, tranquilizers, hallucinogens, inhalants, steroids, and club drugs; p < .05) remained the same among students in the intervention group and increased among students in the control group. The effect sizes were large for marijuana (partial eta-squared = 0.162) and medium for other illicit drugs (partial eta-squared = 0.097).

Tobacco use remained the same over time among students in the intervention and control groups.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2
Study Designs Experimental, Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.2 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Substance abuse risk and protective factors
Description of Measures Four subscales from the Strategies for Success Survey were used to measure perceptions of alcohol and other drug use by peers, the availability of alcohol and other drugs, the intent to abstain from substance use, and perceptions of adult alcohol and other drug use.
Key Findings From pre- to posttest, intervention students showed no change in their risk and protective factors. During the same time period, students in the control group showed decreases in their intent to abstain from substance use (p < .05) and increases in perceptions of alcohol and other drug use by peers (p < .01), availability of alcohol and other drugs (p < .05), and perceptions of adult alcohol and other drug use (p < .001). Effect sizes ranged from medium (partial eta-squared = 0.116 for availability of alcohol and other drugs; partial eta-squared = 0.101 for intention to abstain from substance use) to large (partial eta-squared = 0.256 for perceptions of adult alcohol and other drug use; partial eta-squared = 0.226 for perceptions of alcohol and other drug use by peers).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.1 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
51.6% Male
48.4% Female
61% American Indian or Alaska Native
27% Hispanic or Latino
12% White
Study 2 6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
50.3% Female
49.7% Male
75.5% American Indian or Alaska Native
15.6% Hispanic or Latino
5.3% White
3.3% Race/ethnicity unspecified
0.3% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other illicit drugs 2.5 2.5 2.5 1.5 1.5 2.5 2.2
2: Substance abuse risk and protective factors 2.3 2.5 2.5 1.5 1.5 2.5 2.1

Study Strengths

The evaluation studies used measures with acceptable psychometric properties, and the data were analyzed using appropriate statistical techniques. Program implementation was assessed qualitatively by observing the implementation sessions, documenting meeting attendance, and interviewing both participants and staff members. In addition, a fidelity checklist was developed and used.

Study Weaknesses

The lack of random assignment to groups weakened the impact of the intervention and created the potential for confounding variables. It appears that participant attrition was present and increased over time. Because attrition was not addressed in the evaluation, however, it is difficult to evaluate its potential impact on the findings. In addition, the impact of the after-school activities on the findings is not clear.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: October 2007

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

Hall, M., Carter, S., Flesher, J., & Pilz, A. (2005). Project Venture replication guide. Gallup, NM: National Indian Youth Leadership Project.

National Indian Youth Leadership Project. (2006). Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Field Initiated Research and Evaluation Program grant proposal [Excerpt]. Gallup, NM: Author.

National Indian Youth Leadership Project Replication Site Survey, 2007

Positive Youth Development Approaches for American Indian Youth [pamphlet]

Program Web site, http://www.niylp.org

Project Venture Replication/Adaptation Assessment Scale

Training materials:

  • National Indian Youth Leadership Project Decision Workshop [PowerPoint slides]
  • Project Venture sample training agenda
  • Project Venture sample training workshop evaluation results

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
2.3 3.5 2.5 2.8

Dissemination Strengths

A well-written replication guide with a valuable organizational readiness component is provided. The developer requires a consultation and customized initial training before allowing the purchase of implementation materials. The assessment scale serves as a fidelity tool to support quality assurance.

Dissemination Weaknesses

While the lack of step-by-step instructions offers flexibility for the delivery of this complex program, it may be a significant barrier for some implementers. Further implementation guidance is needed for the school-based and youth recruitment components. Guidance on outcome and process evaluation is limited to the need to hire an outside evaluator.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
Curriculum guide $250 each Yes
2.5- to 3-day, on-site training (recommended for sites with six or more trainees) $3,000 per site plus travel expenses Yes, one training option is required
Off-site training at National Indian Youth Leadership Project workshop $500 per person Yes, one training option is required
Advanced Project Venture Programming workshop $500 per person No
Phone consultation Free Yes
Consultation for assessment of resources for readiness, programming, sustainability, and evaluation $1,000 per day plus travel expenses No
10 hours of follow-up consultation via phone or Web $2,000 per year Yes
On-site follow-up consultation, coaching, and support $1,000 per day plus travel expenses Yes
Fidelity self-study instrument Free No
Replications

No replications were identified by the developer.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
McClellan (Mac) Hall
(505) 722-9176
machall@niylp.org

To learn more about research, contact:
McClellan (Mac) Hall
(505) 722-9176
machall@niylp.org

Susan Carter, Ph.D.
(505) 508-2232
susanleecarter@comcast.net

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.

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