Gender-Specific Effectiveness of the Unplugged Prevention Intervention in Reducing Substance Use among Czech Adolescents
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Keywords (English)adolescence, equality in results, gender, psychoactive substances, school-based prevention
Impact evaluations of the school-based Unplugged prevention intervention have shown it to have a measurably positive preventive effect on the Czech school population, but only limited data are available to identify its effectiveness in gender-specific terms. This article seeks to determine the gender-specific effectiveness of this drug prevention programme. The authors conducted a randomised trial of the programme on a total of 1874 children (with a mean age of 11.8 years). They collected data using a questionnaire from the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs. Baseline testing was conducted among sixth-grade students immediately prior to the programme’s implementation, and five follow-up tests were carried out 9, 12, 21, 24, and 33 months after the baseline testing. Gender-specific effectiveness was tested using three indicators: the 30-day prevalence of any tobacco or cannabis use and the 30-day prevalence of any drunkenness. The results comparing the experimental and control groups provide evidence of statistically significant effects for any drunkenness among boys and any tobacco use among girls in the 30 days prior to testing. The programme was found to have positive effects on both genders’ cannabis use, with girls showing lower levels of cannabis use even 33 months after the baseline test. Given the gender equality approach to drug prevention, differences in outcome may be overcome by adding gender-specifi c elements to the intervention programme’s curriculum.