Preventure is a school-based intervention aimed at reducing adolescent drug and alcohol use in high-risk teenagers. Students with high-risk personality profiles as identified by a screening questionnaire are invited to participate in two 90-minute group workshops. The workshops focus on motivating adolescents to understand how their personality style leads to certain emotional and behavioural reactions. Four different workshops are run, each focused on developing specialised coping skills relevant to following personality styles:
- Sensation seeking
- Anxiety sensitivity
- Negative thinking.
Brief, coping skills interventions targeting personality risk factors have been tested in randomised controlled trials, showing benefits that last for up to two years.The Preventure program has proven both feasible and effective when delivered by trained school-staff. The Preventure materials were developed in Canada but are culturally adaptable and have been adapted for implementation in Australia.
Watch Introductory video
In order to implement the Preventure program, it is necessary to attend a 2-3 day training workshop. These training workshops are run in Montreal, Canada, but alternate arrangements may be possible. See the program website for information about the training workshops and costs for the program materials.
Facilitator training workshops are currently being offered in Australia. The next workshops will be held in 2019, with exact dates still to be announced. At the bottom of this page you can register your interest to be informed about upcoming facilitator workshops.
Preventure training in Australia is proudly supported by the The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, (formerly the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use), Positive Choices, and Brain Sciences UNSW.
To date, two randomised controlled trials and 2 published studies support the benefits (reduced alcohol consumption and initiation) of the program when administered by teachers who have received a 2-3 day training workshop with the developers:
Mahu, I. T., Doucet, C., O'Leary-Barrett, M., & Conrod, P. J. (2015). Can cannabis use be prevented by targeting personality risk in schools? 24-month outcome of the adventure trial on cannabis use: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Addiction, 110, 1625-1633.
Conrod, P. J., O'Leary-Barrett, M., Newton, N., Topper, L., Castellanos-Ryan, N., Mackie, C., & Girard, A. (2013). Effectiveness of a Selective, Personality-Targeted Prevention Program for Adolescent Alcohol Use and Misuse A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA Psychiatry, 70, 334-342.
O'Leary-Barrett, M., Mackie, C. J., Castellanos-Ryan, N., Al-Khudhairy, N., & Conrod, P. J. (2010). Personality-Targeted Interventions Delay Uptake of Drinking and Decrease Risk of Alcohol-Related Problems When Delivered by Teachers. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49, 954-963.
Three additional trials and 5 published studies support the benefits of the program delivered by a psychologist or experienced special needs teacher. Three of these papers are listed below, for a full list of evaluation studies, see Preventure Research.
Teesson, M., Newton, N. C., Slade, T., Carragher, N., Barrett, E. L., Champion, K. E., Kelly, E. V., Nair, N. K., Stapinski, L. A., Conrod, P. J. (2017). Combined universal and selective prevention for adolescent alcohol use: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Psychological Medicine, 47, 1761-1770.
Conrod, P. J., Castellanos-Ryan, N., & Mackie, C. (2011). Long-Term Effects of a Personality-Targeted Intervention to Reduce Alcohol Use in Adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79, 296-306.
Conrod, P. J., Castellanos-Ryan, N., & Strang, J. (2010). Brief, personality-targeted coping skills interventions and survival as a non-drug user over a 2-year period during adolescence. Archives of General Psychiatry, 67, 85-93.
The program has been adapted for use in Australia, and the long-term benefits have been demonstrated in one published study:
Newton, N., Conrod, P., Slade, T., Carragher, N., Champion, K., Barrett, E., Kelly, E., Nair, N., Stapinski, L. & Teesson, M. (2016). The long-term effectiveness of a selective, personality-targeted prevention program in reducing alcohol use and related harms: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57, 1056-1065.
A randomised controlled trial examining the effects of the program on the binge drinking behaviour of adolescents in the Netherlands found the program had little or no effect on reducing the overall prevalence of this behaviour among this group. However, longer term beneficial effects are promising i.e. reductions in the development of binge drinking over time. See the paper below for full details:
Lammers, J., Goossens, F., Conrod, P., Engels, R., Wiers, R. W., & Kleinjan, M. (2015). Effectiveness of a selective intervention program targeting personality risk factors for alcohol misuse among young adolescents: results of a cluster randomized controlled trial. Addiction, 110, 1101-1109.
The Preventure program is included in SAMSHA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (USA).