Repeated cross-sectional evaluation of Washington State’s Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative for adolescent substance use prevention
Primary author: Brittany Cooper
Co-author(s): Gitanjali Shrestha; Laura Hill; Clara Hill
Primary college/unit: Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences
Introduction: The Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative (CPWI) is a strategic, data-informed community coalition model aimed at bringing together key stakeholders to reduce underage substance use and related risk factors among adolescents using evidence-based prevention programming. In this repeated measures cross-sectional study, we followed linked grade-cohorts of students over time to assess whether developmentally normative patterns of changes in substance use and related risk factors differed in CPWI communities compared to non-CPWI communities.
Method: We used a quasi-experimental design and conducted propensity score weighted multilevel modeling to examine change over time. Our sample consisted of students who participated in the biennial Healthy Youth Survey (HYS) from 18 CPWI and 174 non-CPWI communities. As HYS is anonymous at the student level, linking grade-cohorts of students enabled us to study changes in outcomes as adolescents grew older.
Results: Results suggest that CPWI has a positive impact on developmental trends in reducing adolescent substance use and risk factors. Consistent with developmentally normative expectations, alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use increased significantly with age in both CPWI and non-CPWI communities. However, the use of these substances increased more slowly in CPWI communities compared to non-CPWI communities. Six risk factors across peer-individual, family, and community domains increased significantly with age in both CPWI and non-CPWI communities, but these risks increased more slowly in CPWI communities.
Conclusion: Positive findings are similar to those found in experimental trials; these suggest that the coalition model is effective and can be scaled up to the state level.