Community-Wide Effort May Help Tame Troubled
FRIDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- A community-based prevention
system may lead to lasting reductions in teen smoking, drinking,
violence and other bad behavior, according to a new study.
The Communities That Care system helps communities choose
programs that have been shown to be effective in preventing teen
The system was developed by University of Washington
researchers, who conducted the study that looked at the behaviors
of more than 4,400 youngsters in 24 small- to moderate-sized towns
in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Oregon, Utah and
Half the towns received training in the Communities That Care
system. In those towns, students in grades 5 to 9 participated in
programs designed to reduce risk factors such as family conflict
and school difficulties. The behavior of all the students in the
study was assessed when they were in grade 10.
Those in towns using the Communities That Care system were less
likely to have tried smoking or drinking than those in towns that
did not use the system. Delinquent behaviors, such as vandalism,
theft and fighting, also decreased among teens in towns that used
The study was published online Oct. 3 in the journal
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
"What's exciting about this paper is that these decreases in alcohol use, smoking and violence were apparent even after outside support for the Communities That Care system ended. It shows that community coalitions can make a sustained difference in their youngsters' health community-wide," lead author J. David Hawkins, founding director of UW's Social Development Research Group, said in a university news release.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about
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