Influences on adolescent substance use and attitudes towards the D.A.R.E. prevention program

By Erin Caine

Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Johnson-Young


Numerous studies indicate high adolescent alcohol, legal drug, and illegal drug use, which can be detrimental to their health and well-being. D.A.R.E., a school-based prevention education program in many K-12 schools throughout the country, hopes to educate students on the harms of drug and alcohol use and equip them with the needed tools to avoid use. The purpose of this study is to understand the attitudes and behaviors relating to substance use of those who experienced the D.A.R.E. program compared to those who did not, as well as to understand perceptions of D.A.R.E. This study also seeks to understand how sensation-seeking tendencies, attitudes, perceived behavioral control, and perceived social norms impact an individual’s post-D.A.R.E. behaviors. This study utilized an online survey, with mostly quantitative questions and some open-ended (qualitative) questions. Preliminary findings indicate no sign of statistically significant differences between substance use in the past two weeks by individuals who experienced and did not experience D.A.R.E. However, there are significant correlations among participants between sensation-seeking tendencies and substance use, both over the past two weeks and intentions for the next two weeks. Additional findings on the Theory of Planned Behavior and fear appeals will be outlined as well, along with implications and the potential for future research.




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