Effectiveness of a brief school-based intervention on depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, and delinquency: a cluster randomized controlled trial
BACKGROUND In comparison to other Europe countries, Dutch adolescents are at the top in drinking frequency and binge drinking. A total of 75% of the Dutch 12 to 16 year olds who drink alcohol also engage in binge drinking. A prevention programme called Preventure was developed in Canada to prevent adolescents from binge drinking. This article describes a study that aims to assess the effects of this selective school-based prevention programme in The Netherlands. METHODS A randomized controlled trial is being conducted among 13 to 15-year-old adolescents in secondary schools. Schools were randomly assigned to the intervention and control conditions. The intervention condition consisted of two 90 minute group sessions, carried out at the participants' schools and provided by a qualified counsellor and a co-facilitator. The intervention targeted young adolescents who demonstrated personality risk for alcohol abuse. The group sessions were adapted to four personality profiles. The control condition received no further intervention above the standard substance use education sessions provided in the Dutch national curriculum. The primary outcomes will be the percentage reduction in binge drinking, weekly drinking and drinking-related problems after three specified time periods. A screening survey collected data by means of an Internet questionnaire. Students have completed, or will complete, a post-treatment survey after 2, 6, and 12 months, also by means of an online questionnaire. DISCUSSION This study protocol presents the design and current implementation of a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a selective alcohol prevention programme. We expect that a significantly lower number of adolescents will binge drink, drink weekly, and have drinking-related problems in the intervention condition compared to the control condition, as a result of this intervention. TRIAL REGISTRATION This trial is registered in the Dutch Trial Register (Cochrane Collaboration) as NTR1920.