Short term effects of the REAL media e-learning media literacy substance prevention curriculum: An RCT of adolescents disseminated through a community organization

Kathryn Greene, Anne E. Ray, Hye Jeong Choi, Shannon D. Glenn, Rachel E. Lyons, Michael L. Hecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the short-term effects of testing an e-learning program to reduce adolescent substance use and abuse. Early initiation of substance use is linked to a variety of negative outcomes, thus effective intervention programs are needed. One approach is to use media literacy to capitalize on adolescents’ immersion with media in a variety of forms. We developed, implemented, and tested an engaging substance use prevention program by collaborating with a youth-oriented community partner (4-H). Methods: 639 middle adolescents from nine U.S. states participated in an RCT of REAL media. Participants completed a series of online surveys and were randomized to use an online substance prevention program (REAL media) or serve as control (delayed program use). Self-report surveys were administered at three points in time. This short-term evaluation uses data from the pretest (Time 1) and short-term posttest three-month surveys, which measured demographics, self-efficacy to counterargue, and injunctive and descriptive substance use norms. Results: Participants who completed the REAL media program reported increased self-efficacy to counterargue and decreased positive injunctive norms compared to control participants who did not complete the program. No significant differences were observed for descriptive norms. Conclusions: We found support for the REAL media program in changing key predictors of youth substance use demonstrating (1) the efficacy of media literacy interventions targeting adolescents and (2) that e-learning substance use prevention efforts can be adapted for and implemented through community organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108170
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume214
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Health messages
  • Media literacy
  • Prevention
  • Substance use
  • e-Learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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