Intervention RFP: The Impact of School-Based Prevention on Friendship Networks and Peer Influence

In what ways do combined family- and school-based programs positively alter peer networks, consequently lowering youth substance use and delinquency?

PROSPER (Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) is an intervention that provides family- and school-based substance-abuse prevention services to sixth and seventh grade students. Initially, the research team implemented the intervention and studied the impact on youth outcomes. With this supplement, the researchers are continuing to investigate the ways in which the PROSPER program changed social groups and peer influences and how these changes had the intended outcome of reducing substance abuse among students. The study includes 28 rural schools in mostly white communities, 14 of which are randomly assigned to PROSPER and 14 to the control condition. The approximately 11,000 students served in these schools have moderate rates of poverty and include few non-English speakers. Preliminary findings suggest that the program decreases the influence of antisocial youth relative on pro-social youth in peer networks.

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