Project C.A.R.E. substance abuse prevention program for high-risk youth: A longitudinal evaluation of program effectiveness

Michelle Hostetler, Kirk Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This article describes and evaluates Project C.A.R.E., a substance abuse prevention program for three cohorts of at-risk fourth graders and their families. Project C.A.R.E. worked intensively with students and their families to increase resiliency factors and decrease risk factors through school, family, and extracurricular activities. The research design was experimental. Project objectives were to decrease substance use, negative behaviors, intent to use substances, school suspensions, and absences; and to increase alternative activities, family communication, academic grades, and consistency of family behavior control and rules. A few positive program effects were found. At posttest, more control students' grades needed improvement, and more program students participated in community activities. Several variables showed differential change over time which favored the program group. Compared to control students, program students increased participation in alternative activities from pretest to posttest and did not increase their school suspensions as much. At the one year follow-up, control students were more willing to use substances than were programs students. The program appeared to have the most impact with the third cohort of students and with Black students. Program students with low participation generally had the worst outcomes, often worse than the control students. It was suggested that more research should be done examining differential effectiveness, especially racial and program participation differences, as they could have a profound impact on program development and implimentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-419
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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