Life skills training effects for high and low risk Rural Junior High School Females

Judith R. Vicary, Kimberly L. Henry, Lori J. Bechtel, John D. Swisher, Edward A. Smith, Richard Wylie, Abigail M. Hopkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This study assessed Life Skills Training effects for rural middle school females classified at low or high risk for initiation or increased use of substances. Risk domains included socioeconomic status, family relations and functioning, psychological health, and academic performance. The program does not address these risk variables directly, attempting instead to improve protective factors for participants. The strongest effects were found for the high-risk group, with some continuing treatment effects after two years, in substance use and protective skills competencies. Early effects for low risk subjects were lost by the end of second year programming. The findings underscore the need to choose prevention programs and protective skills components more selectively based on risk variables affecting the target population. Editors' Strategic Implications: This article includes the following strategy that shows promise. School and community administrators should consider the academic and SES risk status of students in order to select appropriate prevention program components for their local settings. The authors examine the degree to which an evidence-based Life Skills Training program can be "infused" into the ongoing routine of the school. This is a timely issue, and the authors address substance abuse prevention in rural areas with a strong experimental, longitudinal design, a validated curriculum and measures, and a clear focus on the impact of high versus low risk status for female participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-416
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Primary Prevention
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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