Methods: We conducted a session-by-session analysis of the "keepin' It REAL" elementary (5th grade) and middle school (7th grade) programs, assessing (1) targeted mediators and (2) the statistical strength of mediators as correlates or predictors of outcome variables. Past research on targeted mediators was used to classify the expected strength of relationship between each measure and targeted behavioral outcomes.
Results: The program includes the following core concepts: (a) self-efficacy to responding to peer pressure, (b) decision-making skills, (c) communication skills, (d) assertiveness skills, (e) beliefs about vulnerability to consequences of alcohol and tobacco use, and (f) normative beliefs about alcohol and tobacco prevalence. Each grade’s program places different emphasis on these concepts. Prior research relationships suggest that relationships between targeted mediators and behaviors include weak (in the case of assertiveness and communication skills), moderate (decision-making skills), and strong (beliefs about consequences, bullying self-efficacy, and normative beliefs).
Conclusion: The analysis of program content, linked with prior research on the strength of relationship between targeted mediators and behaviors serves as a useful means for constructing measures that will be used in a future evaluation of "keepin' It REAL" as delivered by D.A.R.E. officers.