Aims: To examine the effectiveness of a personality-targeted intervention program (Adventure trial) delivered by trained teachers to high-risk (HR) high-school students on reducing marijuana use and frequency of use.
Design: A cluster-randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Secondary schools in London, UK.
Participants: Twenty-one secondary schools were randomized to intervention (n = 12) or control (n = 9) conditions, encompassing a total of 1038 HR students in the ninth grade [mean (standard deviation) age = 13.7 (0.33) years].
Interventions: Brief personality-targeted interventions to students with one of four HR profiles: anxiety sensitivity, hopelessness, impulsivity and sensation-seeking.
Primary outcome: marijuana use. Secondary outcome: frequency of use. Assessed using the Reckless Behaviour Questionnaire at intervals of 6 months for 2 years. Personality risk was measured with the Substance Use Risk Profile Scale.
Findings: Logistic regression analysis revealed significant intervention effects on cannabis use rates at the 6-month follow-up in the intent-to-treat sample [odds ratio (OR) = 0.67, P = 0.05, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.45-1.0] and significant reductions in frequency of use at 12- and 18-month follow-up (β = -0.14, P ≤ 0.05, 95% CI = -0.6 to -0.01; β = -0.12, P ≤ 0.05, 95% CI = -0.54 to 0.0), but this was not supported in two-part latent growth models. Subgroup analyses (both logistic and two-part models) reveal that the sensation-seeking intervention delayed the onset of cannabis use among sensation seekers (OR = 0.25, β = -0.833, standard error = 0.342, P = 0.015).
Conclusions: Personality-targeted interventions can be delivered effectively by trained school staff to delay marijuana use onset among a subset of high-risk teenagers: sensation-seekers.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00776685.
Keywords: Adolescents; drug prevention; impulsivity; personality; sensation seeking; targeted prevention.
© 2015 The Authors. Addiction published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society for the Study of Addiction.