Can cannabis use be prevented by targeting personality risk in schools? Twenty-four-month outcome of the adventure trial on cannabis use: a cluster-randomized controlled trial

Addiction. 2015 Oct;110(10):1625-33. doi: 10.1111/add.12991. Epub 2015 Jul 14.


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: NCT00776685.

Keywords: Adolescents; drug prevention; impulsivity; personality; sensation seeking; targeted prevention.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Hope
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • London
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / prevention & control*
  • Marijuana Smoking / psychology
  • Motivational Interviewing / methods*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Personality*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • School Health Services
  • United Kingdom

Associated data