The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 41–49 | Cite as

Effects of a Youth Substance Use Prevention Program on Stealing, Fighting, and Weapon Use

  • Tanya Nieri
  • Jacob Apkarian
  • Stephen Kulis
  • Flavio Francisco Marsiglia
Original Paper


Using a sample of sixth graders in 11 public schools in a large Southwestern city, this longitudinal study examined how a model substance use prevention program, keepin’ it REAL, that was implemented in 7th grade, influenced three other problem behaviors (fighting, weapon use, stealing), measured in 8th grade. Using a non-equivalent control group design, we compared 259 students in the intervention to 322 students in a treatment-as-usual condition. At baseline, 37 % of the sample reported fighting in the last 30 days; 31 % reported stealing in the last 30 days, and 16 % reported using a weapon in the last 30 days. Regression analyses adjusted for students nested in schools through multi-level modeling and for missing data through multiple imputation. We found that at posttest the rates of all three behaviors were lower in the intervention group than the control group at posttest: 35 versus 37 % got into a fight in the last 30 days; 24 versus 31 % stole something in the last 30 days; and 16 versus 25 % used a weapon in the last 30 days. The program impact for fighting and stealing was not statistically significant and involved minimal effect sizes. The program impact for weapon use was not statistically significant but had an effect size comparable to that for other problem behavior interventions. Promoting positive development via life skills may be a key to broadening program impact.


Prevention Adolescence Delinquency 



The data for this study were collected and analyzed with support to the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center (SIRC) at Arizona State University from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse (R24 DA 13937-01 and R01 DA 005629-09A2). SIRC is an Exploratory Center of Excellence funded by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (P20 MD002316). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, or the National Institutes of Health.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanya Nieri
    • 1
  • Jacob Apkarian
    • 1
  • Stephen Kulis
    • 2
  • Flavio Francisco Marsiglia
    • 2
  1. 1.Sociology DepartmentUniversity of California, RiversideRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Southwest Interdisciplinary Research CenterArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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