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Intervention Summary

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Across Ages

Across Ages is a school- and community-based substance abuse prevention program for youth ages 9 to 13. The unique feature of Across Ages is the pairing of older adult mentors (55 years and older) with young adolescents, specifically those making the transition to middle school. The overall goal of the program is to increase protective factors for high-risk students to prevent, reduce, or delay the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and the problems associated with substance use. The four intervention components are (1) a minimum of 2 hours per week of mentoring by older adults who are recruited from the community, matched with youth, and trained to serve as mentors; (2) 1-2 hours of weekly community service by youth, including regular visits to frail elders in nursing homes; (3) monthly weekend social and recreational activities for youth, their families, and mentors; and (4) 26 45-minute social competence training lessons taught weekly in the classroom using the Social Problem-Solving Module of the Social Competence Promotion Program for Young Adolescents developed by Roger Weissberg and colleagues. Implementing Across Ages requires a full-time project coordinator, a part-time outreach coordinator, and one mentor for every one or two students.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Substance abuse prevention
Outcomes Review Date: June 2008
1: Reactions to situations involving drug use
2: Attitudes toward school, future, and elders
3: School attendance
4: Knowledge about and attitudes toward older adults
Outcome Categories Alcohol
Education
Family/relationships
Tobacco
Ages 6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities Asian
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
White
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings School
Other community settings
Geographic Locations Urban
Implementation History Across Ages was first funded in 1991 by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention as a 5-year research and demonstration project. Since 1996, 85 sites have been trained on the program, representing urban, suburban, and semirural communities in 37 States. Approximately a third of these sites have sustained implementation, with funding from a variety of sources, for two or more funding cycles. Approximately 8,300 youth have participated in the program.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: Yes
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: Yes
Adaptations Some Across Ages program materials have been adapted for Native American populations and translated into Spanish.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Selective

Quality of Research
Review Date: June 2008

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

LoSciuto, L., Rajala, A. K., Townsend, T. N., & Taylor, A. S. (1996). An outcome evaluation of Across Ages: An intergenerational mentoring approach to drug prevention. Journal of Adolescent Research, 11(1), 116-129.

Taylor, A., & LoSciuto, L. (1997). Across Ages: An intergenerational mentoring approach to drug prevention. Final report, grant #SPO2779. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University.

Supplementary Materials

Aseltine, R. H., Dupre, M., & Lamlein, P. (2000). Mentoring as a drug prevention strategy: An evaluation of Across Ages. Adolescent and Family Health, 1(1), 11-20.

LoSciuto, L., & Taylor, A. (n.d.). Across Ages: An intergenerational approach to prevention. Evaluation protocol. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University.

Taylor, A. S., & Lamlein, P. (n.d.). Across Ages: An intergenerational approach to prevention. Fidelity instrument. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University.

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Reactions to situations involving drug use
Description of Measures Reactions to situations involving drug use were measured using the Across Ages Youth Survey, a paper-and-pencil instrument. The survey was read aloud to a group of students, who followed along on their survey and answered each question as it was read. Two hypothetical dilemmas involving peer pressure to drink beer or smoke cigarettes were presented. Youth were asked to write five ways they might respond to these situations.
Key Findings Participants were assigned to one of three conditions: Across Ages, Across Ages without the mentoring component, or a control condition providing no intervention. Reactions to situations involving drug use were significantly better in the Across Ages group than the control group (p = .042). No statistically significant difference was found between the Across Ages without mentoring group and the control group or between the groups that received Across Ages with and without mentoring.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.1 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Attitudes toward school, future, and elders
Description of Measures Youth's attitudes toward academic achievement, their hopes for the future, and adults in their lives were measured using the Across Ages Youth Survey, a paper-and-pencil instrument. The survey was read aloud to a group of students, who followed along on their survey and answered each question as it was read.
Key Findings Participants were assigned to one of three conditions: Across Ages, Across Ages without the mentoring component, or a control condition providing no intervention. The composite score on attitudes toward school, the future, and elders was significantly better in the Across Ages group than the Across Ages without mentoring group (p = .002) and the control group (p = .038). No statistically significant difference was found between the Across Ages without mentoring group and the control group.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.4 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: School attendance
Description of Measures School attendance was measured using school records.
Key Findings Participants were assigned to one of three conditions: Across Ages, Across Ages without the mentoring component, or a control condition providing no intervention. Students in the Across Ages group had fewer days absent from school than those in both the Across Ages without mentoring group and the control group (p = .01). No statistically significant difference was found between the Across Ages without mentoring group and the control group.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.1 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 4: Knowledge about and attitudes toward older adults
Description of Measures Knowledge about and attitudes toward older adults were measured using the Across Ages Youth Survey, a paper-and-pencil instrument. Items focus on facts about older people, aging, and health issues related to older people as well as on perceptions regarding people over age 50. The survey was read aloud to a group of students, who followed along on their survey and answered each question as it was read.
Key Findings Participants were assigned to one of three of conditions: Across Ages, Across Ages without the mentoring component, or a control condition providing no intervention. Attitudes toward older people were significantly better in the Across Ages group than the Across Ages without mentoring group (p = .012) and the control group (p = .005). No statistically significant difference in attitudes was found between the Across Ages without mentoring group and the control group. Both the Across Ages group (p = .008) and the Across Ages without mentoring group (p = .022) had significantly better knowledge about older adults than the control group. No statistically significant difference in knowledge was found between the groups that received Across ages with and without mentoring.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.8 (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)
53% Female
47% Male
52% Black or African American
16% White
14% Race/ethnicity unspecified
9% Asian
9% Hispanic or Latino

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: Reactions to situations involving drug use 4.0 3.5 2.5 2.0 3.0 3.5 3.1
2: Attitudes toward school, future, and elders 1.5 2.0 2.5 2.0 3.0 3.5 2.4
3: School attendance 4.0 3.5 2.5 2.0 3.0 3.5 3.1
4: Knowledge about and attitudes toward older adults 3.0 2.8 2.5 2.0 3.0 3.5 2.8

Study Strengths

Researchers used existing instruments to develop the survey scales and took steps that ensured generally good reliability and validity. The randomized controlled study design minimized the potential for confounding variables. Appropriate statistical methods were used.

Study Weaknesses

Although the 23% attrition rate was not extreme, the authors did not explain any steps taken to account for it. Intervention fidelity varied by program component as well as over time. For example, the fidelity of the parent workshops was lower than that of other program components but increased over time. Fidelity of the classroom component appeared stronger in years 1-3 than in years 4-5, but the dose of classroom training remained about 50% of planned during the course of the study.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: June 2008

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.

Across Ages: An Intergenerational Approach to Drug Prevention [DVD]

Across Ages product list

Across Ages training packet

Across Ages Web site, http://www.acrossages.org

Henkin, N. Z., Perez-Randal, C., & Rogers, A. M. (1993). Elders as mentors: A training program for older adults. Facilitator's guide. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Center for Intergenerational Learning.

Henkin, N. Z., Perez-Randal, C., Rogers, A. M., & Taylor, A. (1993). Elder mentor handbook. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Center for Intergenerational Learning.

LoSciuto, L., & Taylor, A. (n.d.). Across Ages: An intergenerational approach to prevention. Evaluation protocol. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University.

National Collaboration for Youth. (n.d.). Making a difference in the lives of youth. Washington, DC: Author.

Taylor, A. S., & Bressler, J. (2000). Mentoring across generations: Partnerships for positive youth development. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

Taylor, A. S., & Lamlein, P. (n.d.). Across Ages: An intergenerational approach to prevention. Fidelity instrument. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University.

Temple University Center for Intergenerational Learning. (1998). Across Ages: An intergenerational approach to drug prevention. Program development manual. Philadelphia, PA: Author.

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
3.7 2.8 3.5 3.3

Dissemination Strengths

The program development manual includes detailed instructions for each step of the implementation process. Specialized handbooks are available for parents, youth, and teachers. Training and follow-up support are available upon request. An outcome evaluation protocol and a detailed fidelity instrument are provided to support quality assurance.

Dissemination Weaknesses

It is unclear whether some components of the materials are required for implementation or are supplemental. While training is highly recommended by the developer, there is no mechanism in place requiring completion of training before implementation materials are available for use, and no forum exists for ongoing training or peer networking across multiple program sites. Quality assurance items are optional. The evaluation protocol assumes that implementers understand how to use a coding scheme and analyze data.

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
Program materials set About $350 Yes
2-day training $1,500 per day Yes
Technical assistance $500 per day No
Fidelity instrument $25 each Yes

Additional Information

Across Ages costs approximately $2,500-$3,000 per child per year. A typical yearly budget for the program ranges from $60,000 to $100,000.

Replications

Selected citations are presented below. An asterisk indicates that the document was reviewed for Quality of Research.

Aseltine, R. H., Dupre, M., & Lamlein, P. (2000). Mentoring as a drug prevention strategy: An evaluation of Across Ages. Adolescent and Family Health, 1(1), 11-20.

Family Planning Council. (2003). Abuelas y Jovenas. Final report to the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation or research, contact:
Andrea S. Taylor, Ph.D.
(215) 204-6708
ataylor@temple.edu

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

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