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The present study reports a preliminary evaluation of D.A.R.E.’s new elementary school keepin’ it REAL substance abuse prevention program. Given the widespread dissemination of D.A.R.E., this evaluation, even though of short term effects, has important implications for national prevention efforts. The new prevention curriculum teaches social and emotional competencies such as decision making and resistance skills. Social and emotional competencies and other risk factors were examined among students (N = 943) in 26 classrooms, 13 classrooms in the treatment condition (n = 359) and 13 classrooms in the control condition (n = 584) using a quasi-experimental matched group design. Pretest comparisons of treatment and control groups were completed, along with attrition analyses, and hierarchical logistic and linear regressions were computed to assess the intervention. The results revealed that the intervention produced significant effects on preventative factors such as the likelihood of resisting peer pressure, increased responsible decision making knowledge and decision-making skills, and confidence in being able to explain why they would refuse offers of cigarettes. The results of this study suggest that D.A.R.E.’s elementary keepin’ it REAL program has promise as a social and emotional learning (SEL) based prevention program.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Addictive Behaviors. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Addictive Behaviors, volume 74, in 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.05.025

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