Topic 2 Examples of Preventive Interventions

Universal Prevention

  • Education as a part of the school curriculum
  • School based policies on tobacco, alcohol and internet use
  • Classroom centred intervention targeting teachers’ behaviour management and academic instructional skills
  • Family school partnerships intervention

Education as a Part of School Curriculum

  • The education on the negative consequences of:
    • Smoking
    • Responsible drinking behavior
    • Adequate internet use
  • These preventive activities have shown to be:
    • Effective
    • Inexpensive
    • Can be an integral part of education from the kindergarten up until the end of secondary education.
  • The teachers who include the education on risk behaviors in their curricula go through the education on prevention and on the risk and protective factors
  • Provision of information is not sufficient
  • The main flaws of these interventions can be overcome by:
    • including the children in the discussion process
    • allowing them to ask for the information they consider necessary.

School-Based Policies on Tobacco, Alcohol and Internet Use

  • Aim to decrease the children’s/ adolescents’ access to tobacco, alcohol, or internet at school and also ban its use on the school property or any event organized or sponsored by the school.
  • Reduce the exposure
  • Are not based on behavioural change

Classroom Centered Intervention Targeting Teachers’ Behavior Management and Academic Instructional Skills

  • This intervention was examined as a part of a randomised controlled trial among the sample of first graders, with the follow-up until 18 years of age.
  • Pros: the increase in the time till being offered the first cigarette
  • No effect once the cigarette has been offered, and as much as 75% of children who were offered a cigarette reported smoking

Family-School Partnerships Intervention

  • Part of a randomised controlled trial
  • Focused on improving parent-teacher interaction and support
  • The major component was seven workshops offered to all parents. The workshops were focused on parenting practices
  • Pro: delayed age when offered the first cigarette

Selective Prevention

  • Mentoring
  • School based programs


  • Improves youth’s positive development
  • Improves children’s/adolescents’ relationship with peers (of high importance for the children with already identified risk factors)
  • For it to be effective :
    • Mentors need to be clearly instructed on the process of prevention
    • Mentors need to be clearly instructed on the frequency of contacts
    • There should be organized activities for mentors and children/ adolescents

School-Based Programs

  • Usually consist of the group programs, conducted in weekly sessions.
  • Number of sessions vary but is commonly around 10
  • These sessions target the knowledge development, coping skills and development of social behaviour
  • The studies examining the effects of school-based selective intervention programs showed mixed results

School-Based Programs- Drawbacks and Pros

  • Often more intrusive to the privacy of children/ adolescents
  • Sometimes they can lead to the discussions with parents
  • Require a higher number of highly educated professionals, able to deal with the multiple issues which may arise.
  • Commonly more expensive than universal preventive programs.
  • The most challenging aspect of the selective prevention program is to correctly identify the high-risk group!
  • However, the positive effects are often larger, since the programs include those at risk and are more intensive and longer!

School-Based Programs- Risk Group

  • Children/ adolescents whose parents are smokers/ alcohol abusers, misusers or drug abusers
  • Children of parents with mental illnesses
  • Children of parents with criminal background
  • Children and families living in poverty
  • Abused children
  • Immigrant children

Indicated Prevention

  • School based indicated prevention program
  • Example: Reconnecting youth program
  • Require specially educated and especially motivated teachers.
  • Prolonged
  • Intensive
  • Specifically address the students’ needs.
  • The teacher should also have an educated consultant.