Objectives: We examined the cognitive and behavioral effects of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign on youths aged 12.5 to 18 years and report core evaluation results.
Methods: From September 1999 to June 2004, 3 nationally representative cohorts of US youths aged 9 to 18 years were surveyed at home 4 times. Sample size ranged from 8117 in the first to 5126 in the fourth round (65% first-round response rate, with 86%-93% of still eligible youths interviewed subsequently). Main outcomes were self-reported lifetime, past-year, and past-30-day marijuana use and related cognitions.
Results: Most analyses showed no effects from the campaign. At one round, however, more ad exposure predicted less intention to avoid marijuana use (gamma = -0.07; 95% confidence interval [CI] = -0.13, -0.01) and weaker antidrug social norms (gamma = -0.05; 95% CI = -0.08, -0.02) at the subsequent round. Exposure at round 3 predicted marijuana initiation at round 4 (gamma = 0.11; 95% CI = 0.00, 0.22).
Conclusions: Through June 2004, the campaign is unlikely to have had favorable effects on youths and may have had delayed unfavorable effects. The evaluation challenges the usefulness of the campaign.