Abstract: Short-Term Effects of the Real Media Curriculum in a Sample of 4-H Youth (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

235 Short-Term Effects of the Real Media Curriculum in a Sample of 4-H Youth

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Kathryn Greene, PhD, Professor, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Hye Jeong Choi, PhD, Assistant professor, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
Anne E. Ray, PhD, Instructor, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ
Michael L. Hecht, PhD, President, REAL Prevention LLC, Clifton, NJ
Shannon Glenn, BS, Project Manager, REAL Prevention, LLC, Clifton, NJ
Sarah Barriage, PhD, Research Associate, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Rachel Lyons, B.A., Chair, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Michelle Miller-Day, PhD, Professor, Chapman University, Orange, CA
Smita C. Banerjee, PhD, Assistant Attending Behavioral Scientist, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
Introduction: REAL media is a brief, five-lesson, digital curriculum that aims to prevent substance use among high-school aged youth. Guided by media literacy and active involvement theories, program content focuses on increasing awareness of common advertising techniques; developing counter-arguing and critical-thinking skills to combat pro-drug messages; and applying these skills to plan and produce youth-driven, anti-drug use messages. REAL media was adapted from the evidence-based, face-to-face Youth Message Development curriculum to offer a more flexible delivery system better suited for wide-scale implementation as well as an expanded focus on substances beyond alcohol and cigarettes (e.g., e-cigarettes, marijuana). The aim of this study is to examine the short-term impact of REAL media among a sample of teens participating in an ongoing randomized control trial (RCT) of the curriculum in partnership with the 4-H youth organization.

Methods: Data are from the first two (of four) cohorts (N=274; 66% female; 88% White; mean age=14.79;) of the RCT which aims to evaluate the impact of REAL media on youth substance intentions, as well as theoretical mediators including self-efficacy to counter-argue and substance-specific normative beliefs. Participating youth were randomly assigned to treatment (n=129) or control groups (n=145), and completed self-report surveys at baseline and 3-month follow-up. We employed simple regression models with full information maximum likelihood in Mplus to test whether participating in REAL media was associated with differences self-efficacy, injunctive norms, descriptive norms, and intentions to use substances relative to youth in the control group. Main outcomes of interest at baseline (e.g., substance intentions) as well as demographic variables (e.g., gender, age, ethnicity, and education type) were controlled for in all models.

Results: Results show a significant program effect on substance use injunctive norms between treatment and control, (β =-.14, se=.06, t-value=-2.41), indicating that youth in the treatment group perceived lower acceptability of substance use among others important to them. There were no significant difference on other program mediators including self-efficacy (β =.05, se=.06, t-value=.74) and descriptive norms (β =-.04, se=.05, t-value=-.89), as well as intentions to use substances (β =.02, se=.05, t-value=.37) between two groups.

Conclusions: Preliminary analyses with two of four cohorts of participants suggest that, in the short-term, REAL media is having a positive impact on injunctive norms. It is possible that effects on other variables will emerge when we have a higher-powered sample (e.g., all four cohorts). We will also examine effects of a 9-month follow-up to see if long-term effects on actual substance use emerge. Given the adaptation of the curriculum to a self-paced, e-learning approach, it is possible that program effects are dependent on user engagement with the content, which will also be explored in future analyses.

Kathryn Greene
REAL Prevention LLC: Royalties/Profit-sharing

Anne E. Ray
REAL Prevention LLC: Honorarium/Consulting Fees

Michael L. Hecht
REAL Prevention LLC: Owner/Partnership, Royalties/Profit-sharing

Shannon Glenn
REAL Prevention LLC: Employment with a For-profit organization

Michelle Miller-Day
REAL Prevention LLC: Owner/Partnership, Royalties/Profit-sharing

Smita C. Banerjee
REAL Prevention LLC: Royalties/Profit-sharing