The Evidence Portal

No program name: Online intervention

About the program

This program is a web-based, tailored drug abuse prevention program. The program comprises three-sessions and is informed by a social competency skill-building strategy and minority stress theory.

Who does it work for?

The program is designed for 15-16-year-old sexual minority youths. The program has only been evaluated in the USA. A randomized control trial (Schwinn et al. 2015) was conducted with 236 participants (119 in the intervention group and 117 in the control group).

Participants were 16 years old on average and mostly white in both the intervention (66%) and control groups (58%). Approximately half the participants in both groups were female, with just over 30% identifying as male in both groups and 18% and 14% reporting as transgender or fluid in the intervention and control groups respectively. Most participants in both groups reported being sexually attracted both sexes. Most participants lived in suburban areas.

This program has not been evaluated in Australia or with Aboriginal Australians.

What outcomes does it contribute to?

Positive outcomes:

  • Program participants’ levels of perceived stress decreased
  • Program participants’ coping skills increased
  • Program participants’ problem solving increased
  • Program participants’ drug refusal skills increased

How effective is it?

Overall, the program had a positive effect on client outcomes.

How strong is the evidence?

Promising research evidence:

  • At least one high-quality randomised controlled trial (RCT)/quasi-experimental design (QED) study reports statistically significant positive effects for at least one outcome, AND
  • Fewer RCT/QED studies of similar size and quality show no observed effects than show statistically significant positive effects, AND
  • No RCT/QED studies show statistically significant adverse effects.

How is it implemented?

The program is a 3 session online intervention designed to be completed at the participant’s own pace at home. Most sessions took around 14 minutes to complete and participants took around 4 weeks on average to complete the program.

An animated young adult narrator led youths through the tailored content and practice scenarios that included interactive games, role-playing, and writing activities. Session 1 focused on skills for identifying and managing stress; session 2 provided a five-step guide for making decisions; and session 3 addressed drug use rates and refusal skills.

How much does it cost?

The costs for the program were not reported in the study.

What else should I consider?

Participants require web access to complete this program.

Where does the evidence come from?

1 RCT conducted in the USA with a sample of 236 people (Schwinn et al. 2015).

Further resources

Schwinn, TM, Thom, B, Schinke, SP, & Hopkins, J 2015, ‘Preventing drug use among sexual-minority youths: findings from a tailored, web-based intervention’, Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 56, pp. 571-573, DOI 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.12.015.

Last updated:

09 Dec 2022

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