Students' special needs and problems as reasons for the adaptation of substance abuse prevention curricula in the nation's middle schools

Prev Sci. 2004 Sep;5(3):197-206. doi: 10.1023/b:prev.0000037642.40783.95.


In this study we estimate the proportion of the nation's middle school teachers who have adapted substance abuse curricula in response to their students' special problems or needs. We also explore a variety of characteristics associated with schools, teachers, and the curricula implemented that are associated with adaptations made in response to the most prevalent of these student problems or needs. Study data were collected in 1999 from a representative sample of lead substance abuse prevention teachers in the nation's public and private schools. We found that 79.8% of respondents report adapting their prevention curricula in response to at least one of the dozen student problems and needs specified. The problems cited most frequently, by slightly more than half of all respondents, relate to the needs of students who are sexually active or have discipline problems. Associated most strongly with adaptations for these two reasons were teachers who were recently trained in their curricula, and substance abuse prevention lessons that could readily be integrated into the school's overall curriculum. We discuss the need for curriculum developers to recognize the frequency with which, and reasons for which, teachers are adapting their curricula, and to include appropriate optional content that addresses students' needs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Curriculum / standards*
  • Faculty
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Needs Assessment / organization & administration*
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Program Development / methods
  • Psychology, Child
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • School Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Students* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Students* / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States