Grant Recipient: Iowa State University of Science and Technology
Term: 2017 –2022
Principal Investigator: Richard Spoth, Ph. D., Iowa State University
Summary: This project is a replication and extension trial of PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER), a program-delivery system through which land grant universities partner with community teams to implement evidence-based programs for preventing youth substance misuse and other problem behaviors. A prior well-conducted randomized controlled trial (RCT) with a sample of 28 school districts in Pennsylvania and Iowa found sizable, sustained effects on important substance use outcomes, including (at a 6.5 year follow-up) school-wide reductions of 10-35% in illicit drug use initiation by youth who were non-users in 6th grade (prior to program delivery); and reductions in substance use for the full sample – non-users and users (e.g., 14% lower likelihood of past-month cigarette use).
This RCT will evaluate PROSPER combined with Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). SBIRT applies a brief, web-based screening tool to identify youth who are at greatest risk of developing serious behavioral problems including substance misuse, so that these youth and their families can receive in-depth support. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation will fund most of the program delivery expenses, along with a process evaluation.
The study sample will include 28 school districts in Iowa with over 2,500 participating 6th graders (none of the districts will have participated in the prior RCT). The districts will be randomly assigned to PROSPER + SBIRT versus a delayed intervention control group. The primary outcome measures will be non-medical prescription opioid use, marijuana use, and other illicit drug use, measured over a 3.5 year follow-up period (end of 9thgrade). If sizable impacts are found, the study team will seek a follow-up grant from LJAF and/or other funders for longer-term follow-up (end of 12thgrade), to determine whether the effects endure.
The study’s pre-specified analysis plan is linked here.