The Örebro Prevention Program’s (OPP’s) goal is to increase and maintain parents’ restrictive and prohibitory attitudes toward underage drinking starting when their children are in their teens. This is accomplished through structured presentations at the parent meetings at their child’s school.
OPP targets all parents of youths ages 13–16 and indirectly the youths themselves. The prevention program is aimed at increasing and maintaining strict attitudes and decreasing permissiveness toward underage drinking.
Following an initial 30-minute presentation that describes OPP, the program is delivered to the parents through structured 20-minute presentations during parent meetings in school—once each semester. Each presentation has the goal of increasing and maintaining parents’ restrictive attitudes toward underage drinking. Participating parents are encouraged to adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward youth drinking and to communicate this message clearly to their children. Program staff present parents with information on how common underage drinking is during ages 10–18 and the potential short- and long-term consequences of it—such as violence, drug use, and unprotected sex.
After OPP staff present parents with information and earlier research, they tell the parents that they are still very influential in their children’s attitudes and behaviors. Their views and attitudes toward drinking will shape their children’s attitudes and behavior.
Next, OPP staff provide parents with concrete methods to set rules about underage drinking and to communicate their attitudes. Parents are encouraged to consider setting some rules concerning their children’s conduct in regard to alcohol and even to create a contract that both parents and child sign outlining those alcohol-specific rules. Parents are also encouraged to get their children involved in organized activities, giving them a prosocial activity to do instead of drinking with their peers.
After each parent meeting, all parents are mailed a brief summary of the meeting, reinforcing what was discussed. In addition, throughout the school year brochures describing community events and organized activities are mailed to parents.
OPP was developed on the assumption that interventions that target the family are effective at reducing underage drinking. Strict parental attitudes and disapproval of underage drinking are thought to have an impact on youths' drinking behavior. Permissive attitudes toward drinking are actually more important than the drinking behavior of parents themselves. Another key factor is involving youths with organized activities. OPP operates on the belief that parental attitudes can affect their children's behavior and that occupying children's time with organized activities will lower rates of underage drinking.
13 to 16
Koutakis, Stattin, and Kerr (2008) report that parents in the treatment group—those receiving the Örebro Prevention Program (OPP)—at baseline were significantly less strict in their attitudes and more permissive of underage drinking than parents in the control group. At posttest, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) results revealed that OPP parents became significantly stricter in permissiveness than control group parents. Additionally, parents in the control group became more lenient and permissive during the same period. However, neither the OPP parents nor the control group parents were able to influence their children to participate in more organized activities.
Alcohol use increased for both groups over time. However, adolescents in the control group had a much steeper and greater increase in alcohol use and drunkenness than those in the intervention group. The proportion of participants who had been drunk several times in the past month was twice as high in the control group as in the intervention group. This effect was statistically significant with a moderate effect size and was similar for both boys and girls.
Delinquency increased for both groups over time. However, similar to the results for drunkenness, the treatment group did not increase as quickly or as much as the control group. Adolescents in the control group had significantly higher levels of delinquency than the intervention group at posttest, controlling for baseline levels. This indicates that the OPP reduced delinquency among adolescents in the treatment group. This effect was similar for both boys and girls.
There were no significant effects of community type and/or significant interactions suggesting that the effect of OPP varies by the geographical location (e.g., rural, suburban, or urban) in which it is delivered. Additional analyses revealed that the results were not significantly altered by rates of attrition in the sample.
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