Multilevel Prevention Trial of Alcohol Use Among American Indian and White High School Students in the Cherokee Nation

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Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate the effectiveness of a multilevel intervention designed to prevent underage alcohol use among youths living in the Cherokee Nation.

Methods

We randomly assigned 6 communities to a control, Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA; a community-organizing intervention targeting alcohol access) only, CONNECT (a school-based universal screening and brief intervention) only, or a combined condition. We collected quarterly surveys 2012-2015 from students starting in 9th and 10th grades and ending in 11th and 12th grades. Response rates ranged from 83% to 90%; 46% of students were American Indian (of which 80% were Cherokee) and 46% were White only.

Results

Students exposed to CMCA, CONNECT, and both showed a significant reduction in the probability over time of 30-day alcohol use (25%, 22%, and 12% reduction, respectively) and heavy episodic drinking (24%, 19%, and 13% reduction) compared with students in the control condition, with variation in magnitude of effects over the 2.5-year intervention period.

Conclusions

CMCA and CONNECT are effective interventions for reducing alcohol use among American Indian and other youths living in rural communities. Challenges remain for sustaining intervention effects.

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