Alcohol prevention programs : an exploration of grade 11 students' perceptions
Ogenchuk, Marcella Joann
The purpose of this study was to explore Grade 11 students’ perceptions of programs related to the prevention of alcohol use in four Saskatchewan high schools through an analysis of data elicited from student questionnaires and focus groups. Utilizing a case study design, information regarding current prevention policies in the schools was obtained by interviewing school principals. Interviews were then conducted with teachers and counsellors to determine the context in which the students were learning and included collecting data about the programs that were being delivered. In the final phase, 452 student questionnaires were administered and four focus groups were undertaken to explore students’ perceptions of alcohol prevention programs. It was found that formal and informal school programs to prevent alcohol use were influenced by a number of factors. Time was an essential factor in allowing information to be conveyed to students. Although the topic of alcohol prevention was included within the health curriculum, there was limited time allotted to present this information in an effective manner. In fact, senior high school students did not receive any formal health education. With regard to alcohol prevention, the students identified that practicing resistance skills, the delivery of developmentally appropriate accurate information, and personal stories would contribute to their engagement in prevention programs and improve program efficacy. Methods of program delivery including peer interaction should be considered at all levels including the Grade 9 level when a large proportion of students reported that they started using alcohol. For the students in this study, the location and methods for student referrals to support services should be more transparent and accessible. The findings of this study generated several implications for practice, policy, and research. First, systematic monitoring of students’ alcohol use would be useful in informing policy and program development. In adjunct to programs, teacher professional development should be implemented and informed by evidence-based practice to ensure consistency in the program goals and objectives. To support a comprehensive program with clear and consistent messages, policy needs to include the educative approach, professional development, strategies for student infractions, referral processes, parental information and guidelines, and evaluative measures. Implications for research underline the need for further exploration of students’ perceptions of zero tolerance policy, the nature of engaging prevention-related content, and efficacy of methods of information delivery to students on the risk continuum. Questions concerning how to actively involve parents at the school level need to be pursued.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeBurgess, Dave; Wallin, Dawn; Premkumar, Kalyani; Renihan, Pat; McIntyre, Laureen
Copyright DateJune 2010
student alcohol prevention programs