Research has shown that competence enhancement prevention programs for substance use are effective in reducing alcohol use and other problem behaviors. However, less is known about the mechanisms by which high competence helps youth avoid negative outcomes. This study explored whether greater competence is associated with increased levels of psychological wellness that in turn deters subsequent alcohol use. Specifically, 1,459 students attending 22 middle and junior high schools in New York City completed surveys that included measures of competence (decision making, self-efficacy), psychological wellness, and alcohol use. Students completed surveys at baseline, 1-year follow-up, and 2-year follow-up. Data collectors administered the questionnaire following a standardized protocol during a regular 40-min class period. On the basis of a longitudinal structural equation model, adolescents who were highly competent reported greater psychological wellness, which was then associated with less drinking. These findings highlight the potential of alcohol prevention programs designed to enhance competence and psychological wellness.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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