Objective: To examine the effectiveness of a drug abuse prevention program in reducing the initiation and escalation of smoking in a sample of predominantly minority junior high school girls.
Methods: The 15-session prevention program teaches social resistance skills within the context of a broader intervention designed to promote general personal and social competence skills, and is implemented in the seventh grade. Smoking rates in girls from 29 New York City public schools who received the program (n = 1,278) were compared to smoking rates in a control group of girls (n = 931) who did not.
Results: Those who participated in the program were less likely to initiate smoking relative to controls, due in part to significant program effects on smoking intentions, smoking knowledge, perceived peer and adult smoking norms, drug refusal skills, and risk taking. Experimental smokers in the intervention group were less likely to escalate to monthly smoking relative to controls, due in part to significant program effects on smoking intentions.
Conclusion: A school-based drug abuse prevention approach previously found to be effective among white youth significantly reduced smoking initiation and escalation among urban minority girls.