: D.A.R.E. America has adopted a new drug and alcohol prevention curriculum entitled, “keepin’ it REAL (kiR),” an evidence-based program designed for elementary and middle school students. D.A.R.E. officers represent critical leadership in D.A.R.E.’s initiative; yet, kiR has not been independently evaluated when led by officers. We aim to determine the effectiveness of officer-led kiR, submit results for scientific publication, and determine if D.A.R.E. America can qualify elementary and middle school versions of kiR as evidence-based programs. The purpose of this poster is to describe in detail this large-scale evaluation in its totality, including the background, rationale, objectives and methodological approach that will be used to address a comprehensive conceptual model. Importantly, we will also underscore data collection and analytic approaches that will enable the evaluation team to address the inclusion of multiple mediators (i.e., beliefs about consequences, bullying self-efficacy, decision impulsiveness, decision making skills, assertiveness skills, social skills, intentions/commitments, lifestyle incongruence, normative beliefs, parental attitudes/assertiveness, self-efficacy for peer pressure refusal skills) and moderators (i.e. fidelity, adaptations, engagement, dosage, environment) related to the intended programmatic outcomes (i.e., intervening on bullying, use of alcohol, cigarettes, or marijuana).
Methods: This poster will describe a four-arm quasi-experimental pre-post design that, as nearly as possible, reflects an efficacy trial. The four conditions will be 1) schools/communities that implement the elementary kiR curriculum only, 2) schools/communities that implement the elementary and middle kiR curriculum, 3) teacher facilitated elementary and middle kiR curriculum, and 4) control schools/communities. We are leading a national recruitment effort to identify a minimum of 10 schools for each condition.
In kiR, children from the 5th and 7th grade each participate in ten 45-minute lessons with related take-home activities. Data collection procedures will include pre-test, immediate post-test, and follow-up surveys that will provide data on targeted program mediators and behavioral outcomes. In order to examine the effect of moderating variables, an environmental scan will be performed at each site. Audio recording of all delivery will be evaluated for fidelity and to assess adaptation to the training protocol.
Conclusions: Presentation of the D.A.R.E. kiR evaluation protocol is a significant contribution to Prevention Science due to the wide scope of its implications, sophisticated delivery system, intensive training requirements, and implications for other researchers leading large-scale evaluation.