Personality-targeted interventions delay uptake of drinking and decrease risk of alcohol-related problems when delivered by teachers

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010 Sep;49(9):954-963.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2010.04.011. Epub 2010 Jul 31.


Objective: This trial examined the efficacy of teacher-delivered personality-targeted interventions for alcohol-misuse over a 6-month period.

Method: This randomized controlled trial randomly allocated participating schools to intervention (n = 11) or control (n = 7) conditions. A total of 2,506 (mean age, 13.7 years) were assessed for elevated levels of personality risk factors for substance misuse: sensation-seeking, impulsivity, anxiety sensitivity, and hopelessness. Six hundred ninety-six adolescents were invited to participate in teacher-delivered personality-targeted interventions, and 463 were assigned to the nontreatment condition. Primary outcomes were drinking, binge-drinking status, quantity by frequency of alcohol use, and drinking-related problems.

Results: School delivery of the personality-targeted intervention program was associated with significantly lower drinking rates in high-risk students at 6-month follow-up (odds ratio, 0.6), indicating a 40% decreased risk of alcohol consumption in the intervention group. Receiving an intervention also predicted significantly lower binge-drinking rates in students who reported alcohol use at baseline (odds ratio, 0.45), indicating a 55% decreased risk of binge-drinking in this group compared with controls. In addition, high-risk intervention-school students reported lower quantity by frequency of alcohol use (beta = -.18) and drinking-related problems (beta = -.15) compared with the nontreatment group at follow-up.

Conclusion: This trial replicates previous studies reporting the efficacy of personality-targeted interventions and demonstrates that targeted interventions can be successfully delivered by teachers, suggesting potential for this approach as a sustainable school-based prevention model. Clinical trial registration information-Personality-Targeted Interventions for Adolescent Alcohol Misuse, URL:, unique identifier: NCT00344474.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / prevention & control*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Character*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Exploratory Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / prevention & control
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Individuality
  • Inservice Training
  • London
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Factors

Associated data