Journal Club follow-up: Impact of mental health promotion on substance uptake

A really interesting Journal Club again this month! (Thanks, Sarah!)

The article looked at was:

Roberts, C.; Williams, R.; Kane, R.; Pintabona, Y.; Cross, D.; Zubrick, S.; & Silburn, S. (2011). Impact of a mental health promotion program on substance use in young adolescents. Advances in Mental Health, 10(1), 72-82.

View the abstract here:;dn=956258012900307;res=IELHEA

Some of the things that we discussed were:

  • Some flaws in the study’s methodology – there was a fairly high drop-out rate throughout the study and the authors admit that many of the participants who did leave would be considered “high risk”, in terms of their likelihood to uptake alcohol or tobacco use
  • A really interesting point was made about how the study may look if replicated with rural populations
  • One of the key findings of the research was the importance of continued coaching for teachers who were implementing the program.  This has significant implications for the role out of prevention programs, particularly those based on a “train-the-trainer” model.  It indicates that there is a need to provide ongoing support after the launch of a program and this has significant bearing on project costs and timeframes

You might be interested in reading more about the program that was implemented, the Aussie Optimism Program, here:

For further discussion of prevention programs in schools see:
Botvin, G.J. & Griffin, K. W. (2007). School-based programmes to prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. International Review of Psychiatry, 19(6), 607-615.

Also, have a look at this study where a similar program “You can do it!” was implemented using the train-the-trainer model.  There was no formal follow-up with these trainers after the initial training session, yet the program was still deemed successful, as was the delivery method/ implementation.
Bernard, M. E. & Walton, K. (2008) The effect of You Can Do It! education in six schools on students perception of well-being, teaching-learning and relationships.

Need more info?

Thanks Claire for facilitating this month!

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