Implications of the results of community intervention trials

Annu Rev Public Health. 1998;19:379-416. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.19.1.379.


This paper examines the results of population-level interventions conducted in three settings: entire communities, worksites, and schools. Four major conclusions are discussed: (a) Directions for the next generation of community-based interventions include targeting multiple levels of influence; addressing social inequalities in disease risk; involving communities in program planning and implementation; incorporating approaches for "tailoring" interventions; and utilizing rigorous process evaluation. (b) In addition to randomized controlled trials, it is time to use the full range of research phases available, from hypothesis generation and methods development to dissemination research. (c) The public health research agenda may have contributed to observed secular trends by placing behavioral risk factors on the social and media agendas. (d) The magnitude of the results of community intervention trials must be judged according to their potential public health or population-level effects. Small changes at the individual level may result in large benefits at the population level.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Planning*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health Services
  • Preventive Health Services
  • Public Health / methods*
  • Public Health / trends*
  • Risk
  • Risk Assessment
  • School Health Services
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States