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Intervention Summary

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Project SUCCESS

Project SUCCESS (Schools Using Coordinated Community Efforts to Strengthen Students) is designed to prevent and reduce substance use among students 12 to 18 years of age. The program was originally developed for students attending alternative high schools who are at high risk for substance use and abuse due to poor academic performance, truancy, discipline problems, negative attitudes toward school, and parental substance abuse. In recent years, Project SUCCESS has been used in regular middle and high schools for a broader range of high-risk students. The intervention includes four components:

  • The Prevention Education Series (PES), an eight-session alcohol, tobacco, and other drug program conducted by Project SUCCESS counselors (local staff trained by the developers) who help students identify and resist pressures to use substances, correct misperceptions about the prevalence and acceptability of substance use, and understand the consequences of substance use.
  • Schoolwide activities and promotional materials to increase the perception of the harm of substance use, positively change social norms about substance use, and increase enforcement of and compliance with school policies and community laws.
  • A parent program that includes informational meetings, parent education, and the formation of a parent advisory committee.
  • Individual and group counseling, in which the Project SUCCESS counselors conduct time-limited counseling for youth following their participation in the PES and an individual assessment. Students and parents who require more intensive counseling, treatment, or other services are referred to appropriate agencies or practitioners in the community.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Substance abuse prevention
Substance abuse treatment
Outcomes Review Date: November 2007
1: Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use
2: Risk and protective factors for ATOD use
Outcome Categories Alcohol
Drugs
Family/relationships
Mental health
Tobacco
Ages 13-17 (Adolescent)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities American Indian or Alaska Native
Asian
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
White
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings School
Other community settings
Geographic Locations Urban
Suburban
Rural and/or frontier
Implementation History Project SUCCESS was first implemented in 1995 and is currently being used in schools in 38 States. Many States have submitted final reports of results to the U.S. Department of Education under the Grants To Reduce Alcohol Abuse program. Approximately 13 studies have been conducted, and the developer estimates that thousands of students have participated in the program.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations No population- or culture-specific adaptations of the intervention were identified by the developer.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal
Selective
Indicated

Quality of Research
Review Date: November 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

Morehouse, E. R., & Tobler, N. S. (2000). Project SUCCESS final report: Grant number 4 HD1 SP07240. Report submitted January 26, 2000, to the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Study 2

Vaughan, R., & Johnson, P. (2007). The effectiveness of Project SUCCESS (Schools Using Coordinated Community Efforts to Strengthen Students) in a regular secondary school setting. Unpublished manuscript.

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use
Description of Measures ATOD use was measured using a revised version of the American Drug and Alcohol Survey (ADAS). The survey was revised so that it could be administered in one class session. A drug use index was created by summing the scores of self-reported use of 13 drugs: tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, crack, cocaine, heroin, inhalants, LSD, PCP, amphetamines, meta-amphetamines, ecstasy, and "andrenochomes," a false drug included to identify students who overreported drug use.

In one study, for the purposes of analysis, students were classified as ATOD users and nonusers based on their pretest use status.
Key Findings At posttest in the first year of a study involving alternative secondary school students:

  • Self-reports showed a 37% decrease in ATOD use among Project SUCCESS participants relative to students in the comparison group who did not participate in Project SUCCESS (p < .001).
  • Of the students using ATOD at pretest, 23% of those in the Project SUCCESS program reportedly stopped ATOD use, whereas only 5% in the comparison condition reported stopping (p < .001).
  • For those Project SUCCESS students who did not discontinue ATOD use, there was a significant reduction in reported ATOD use across the drugs assessed, ranging from 17% (p < .05) to 26.6% (p < .01).
At follow-up in the second year of the same study, among Project SUCCESS students who reported using ATOD at pretest, 33.3% reportedly stopped using alcohol, 45.0% reportedly stopped using marijuana, and 22.9% reportedly stopped using tobacco (all p values < .05).

In another study, 21 months following the intervention, regular secondary school students who were involved in Project SUCCESS were less likely than students in the control group to report having ever used marijuana, having smoked in the past month, and having ever used any other substance alone (all p values < .05).

Among pretest users, 21 months following the intervention:

  • Among students who used alcohol and cigarettes at pretest, students in the control group were 2.32 times more likely than similar intervention students to report continued use of alcohol and cigarettes; 4.3 times more likely to report use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana; and 5 times more likely to report use of illicit substances (all p values < .05).
  • Among students who used alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana at pretest, students in the control group were 4.16 times more likely than similar intervention students to report continued use of alcohol and cigarettes; 4.54 times more likely to report continued use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana; and 7.33 times more likely to report use of illicit substances (all p values < .05).
Among students who used illicit substances at pretest, students in the control group were 4.76 times more likely than intervention students to report continued use of alcohol and cigarettes; 5 times more likely to report continued use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana; and 2.7 times more likely to report continued use of illicit substances (all p values < .05).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.2 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Risk and protective factors for ATOD use
Description of Measures Risk and protective factors were measured using a revised version of the Prevention Planning Survey (PPS). The survey was revised so that it could be administered in one class session. In one study, 10 scales measuring risk and protective factors from the school, peer, and family domains were retained from the PPS. For the purposes of analysis, students were classified as ATOD users and nonusers based on their pretest use status. In another study, six risk factor indices were created based on the PPS: depression, direct peer pressure, number of friends using ATOD, perceived harm of ATOD use, lack of self-control, and violence. In addition, four protective factor indices were created: self-esteem, family protection, positive peer relationships, and peer and school nondrug activities. This study also used the Community Oriented Programs Environment Scale (COPES).
Key Findings In a study with alternative secondary school students, Project SUCCESS participants had fewer friends who used ATOD (p < .01) and fewer drug-related problem behaviors (p < .01) relative to students in comparison schools.

Surveys of students attending Project SUCCESS schools (including students who did not participate directly in the intervention) also showed greater participation in peer and school nondrug activities (p < .05) and greater decreases in ATOD-related problem behaviors (p < .05) relative to students in comparison schools, indicating a schoolwide benefit to students regardless of direct participation in the intervention.

In a study with regular secondary school students, 9 months and 21 months following the intervention, comparisons of pretest ATOD users in the intervention group with pretest users in the control group indicated:

  • An increase in the degree to which Project SUCCESS students reported they cared about their families (p < .05).
  • An increase in the amount of help Project SUCCESS students said they expected to receive from the police, when needed (p < .05).
  • A decrease in Project SUCCESS students' reported number of friends who smoked cigarettes (p < .05).
  • Greater confidence among Project SUCCESS students that their parents would try to stop them if they were to start smoking (p < .05).
Results for pretest nonusers were somewhat inconsistent 9 months following the intervention. For example, relative to nonusers in the control group, nonusers exposed to Project SUCCESS reported increased perception of harm from using marijuana once or twice (p < .01) but also decreased liking by their teachers (p < .05), a decrease in the extent to which they thought their family would try to stop them from getting drunk (p < .05), and a decrease in their friends' liking of their teachers (p < .01).

No significant differences were found for nonusers in the control and intervention groups for risk and protective factors 21 months following the intervention.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.2 (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 13-17 (Adolescent) 56% Male
44% Female
65.6% Black or African American
19.8% Hispanic or Latino
13.6% White
0.9% Race/ethnicity unspecified
Study 2 13-17 (Adolescent) 54.4% Male
45.6% Female
41.5% Black or African American
23.1% Hispanic or Latino
20.9% White
12.6% Race/ethnicity unspecified
1.6% Asian
0.3% American Indian or Alaska Native

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: Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use 3.8 4.0 2.5 2.5 3.0 3.5 3.2
2: Risk and protective factors for ATOD use 3.8 4.0 2.5 2.5 3.0 3.5 3.2

Study Strengths

The developers used well-established outcome measures in a naturalistic setting. Intervention effects were found, despite the presence of confounds that reduced the likelihood that the intervention would produce effects.

Study Weaknesses

Although some aspects of treatment fidelity (e.g., attendance in counseling sessions) were assessed, others were not. For example, the content of the PES and counseling sessions was not objectively observed or evaluated. Contamination across treatment conditions occurred within program schools, in that all students were exposed to universal prevention activities.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: November 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.

Morehouse, E., Fallick, A., & Pierce, B. (2006). Project SUCCESS implementation manual (Rev. ed.). Tarrytown, NY: Student Assistance Services Corporation.

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

Project SUCCESS Free Dissemination Materials Packet

Student Assistance Services Corporation. (2006). Process evaluation data collection log. Tarrytown, NY: Author.

Student Assistance Services Corporation. (2006). Student Assistance Services resource manual: Out-of-town. Tarrytown, NY: 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
3.8 4.0 4.0 3.9

Dissemination Strengths

The implementation manual is detailed and easy to understand, and it has all the pertinent programmatic and theoretical information nicely displayed. All materials and training are comprehensive and support the implementation and overall management of the program. On- and off-site technical assistance is also available through the developer. Implementation and supervision checklists, outcome measures, and a suggested performance review format are provided to support quality assurance.

Dissemination Weaknesses

A few photocopied forms and handouts are poorly reproduced and may be difficult to use after continued duplication.

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
Implementation manual (includes implementation checklists) $150 each Yes
Brochure for teachers $0.50 each No
3-day training in Tarrytown, NY (includes implementation manual, resource manual, and brochure for teachers) $350 per person No
3-day, on-site training (includes implementation manual and resource manual) $4,200 for up to 30 participants, plus travel expenses No
Scheduled telephone conference calls $150 per hour No
On-site consultation $200 per hour plus travel expenses No
Process evaluation data collection log $50 each No
Replications

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

Barnes, B. (2006). Grants To Reduce Alcohol Abuse Program (Project TACT: Teenage Alcohol Curtailment Team). Final performance report: Grant number S184A020074. Report submitted October 10, 2006, to the U.S. Department of Education.

* Morehouse, E. R., & Tobler, N. S. (2000). Project SUCCESS final report: Grant number 4 HD1 SP07240. Report submitted January 26, 2000, to the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

* Vaughan, R., & Johnson, P. (2007). The effectiveness of Project SUCCESS (Schools Using Coordinated Community Efforts to Strengthen Students) in a regular secondary school setting. Unpublished manuscript.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
Ellen Morehouse, LCSW, CASAC, CPP
(914) 332-1300
sascorp@aol.com

To learn more about research, contact:
Bonnie Fenster, Ph.D.
(914) 332-1300
bonnie.fenster@sascorp.org

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

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