Communities that Care: Effectiveness of a community intervention strategy for the prevention of alcohol and drug use and other problem behavior of youngsters in the Netherlands
01 / 2008 - 01 / 2012
This four-year project is a randomised, controlled community level trial of the CtC intervention in five experimental and five control communities. There are three objectives to this study:1 to examine the effects and results of the prevention strategy CtC in reducing levels of risk, increasing levels of protection, and reducing levels of alcohol and drug use and other problem behaviours in early adolescence in communities;2 to examine the effects of CtC on levels of collaboration across agencies, groups and organisations in communities;3 to examine the effects of CtC on the community use of epidemiological data to guide prevention service system planning; o prioritising geographic areas for preventive action;o prioritising specific risk- and protective factors for preventive action;o selecting effective and promising programmes; Alcohol-, drug use, and other problem behavior (violence, youth delinquency, dropping out of school, teenage pregnancy and depression) are worrisome phenomena within Among other problem behaviour (such as violence, youth delinquency, dropping out of school, teenage pregnancy, and depression), the use of alcohol and drugs is a worrisome phenomenon within Dutch society (Jonkman & Snijders, 2005; Steketee et al, 2006). Problematic alcohol use among youngsters aged 12 to 18 is increasing enormously. Ninety percent of the youngsters drink alcohol preferably in the weekend (Franken, 2003). Against this social background, interesting approaches are those pointing out problems and dealing with them in as early a stage as possible, thus preventing young people from going downhill. Such an approach is Communities that Care (CtC), developed in the US in response to increased problematic behaviour and social dropping out among the young (Hawkins et al, 2006; Hawkins, Arthur & Catalano, 1995; Hawkins, 1999, Jonkman, 2005; Jonkman et al, 2006). The CtC preventing operation system is a field-tested strategy for activating communities to use prevention science to plan and implement community prevention services systems. Epidemiological research on risk- and protective factors, working with effective preventive programmes, local implementation, and evaluation of local results are the core elements of CtC. In the Netherlands, CtC was successfully implemented and evaluated from 2000 until 2006: CtC improves collaboration on community issues and helps to target prevention activities on specific local risk- and protective factors, leading to similar conclusions as in evaluation studies from abroad. (Steketee et al, 2006; Van Dijk et al, 2004). The object of this study is to examine the effects and results of the prevention strategy CtC in the Netherlands with regard to driving back problematic behaviour and the promotion of healthy behaviour among youngsters. This will be done by a randomized controlled trial in which the results of five experimental CtC communities will be compared to five controlled communities, by looking at the processes as well as the effects of the community intervention. We also have the opportunity of combining these results with the results of similar experimental studies in the USA and Canada. Differences and similarities between the three countries will be analyzed.