The Alcohol Misuse Prevention Study (AMPS) was an alcohol misuse prevention curriculum for 10- to 18-year-olds. The curriculum emphasized resistance training, knowledge of immediate effects of alcohol use, identification of the risks of alcohol misuse, and recognition of social pressures that lead to alcohol misuse. The goals of the curriculum were to increase students’ alcohol misuse prevention knowledge, improve their alcohol refusal skills, and slow their usually growing rates of alcohol use, alcohol misuse, and driving after drinking.
The AMPS curriculum was based on the social learning theory. The program was designed to teach students about alcohol use and misuse in their social contexts and to develop the students’ skills in identifying and resisting social pressure to use and misuse alcohol.
The AMPS curriculum was designed to be delivered to students in elementary school (5th and 6th grades) and again in high school (10th grade). For the elementary school–based alcohol misuse prevention program, 45-minute sessions were designed to actively involve students and offer positive reinforcements for their efforts. There were four sessions delivered 1 week apart. For those who began the study as fifth graders, there were three additional booster sessions also delivered 1 week apart the following year, when those students reached sixth grade. Sessions concentrated on topics such as the short-term effects of alcohol, the risks of alcohol misuse, the pressures from advertising and peers to drink, and skills to resist the pressures.
The high school-based curriculum was designed to augment the knowledge and skills taught in the elementary school–based curriculum while also providing students with new knowledge and skills relevant to 10th graders. The curriculum provided fresh material to students who had not participated in elementary school. The 10th grade program included five sessions delivered for 45 minutes on consecutive days. Sessions covered topics such as the short-term effects of alcohol, the risks of drinking and driving, understanding concepts such as groups norms and peer pressures and their influences on behaviors, and analyzing how role models, availability of alcohol, and offers to drink influence people to use alcohol.
Both curricula included audiovisual materials, student activity sheets, and handouts. Students were provided with opportunities to develop, practice, and observe others using resistance skills through role-playing. Students were also taught about alcohol use and misuse through guided problem-solving and decision-making exercises. Each session was previewed, taught, and summarized, and previous sessions were reviewed.
The program promoted fidelity of implementation by training and monitoring teachers, and providing them with self-evaluation tools.
The AMPS curriculum was later enhanced and revised (Shope, Copeland, and Dielman 1994). The enhanced AMPS curriculum was implemented in the sixth grade, with follow-up sessions in the seventh and eighth grades. However, studies examining the effectiveness of the enhanced curriculum were not included in the program’s Evidence Base, therefore they did not affect the program’s final rating. For information on the enhanced version of AMPS, please see the tab marked Other Information.
10 to 18
Overall, the evaluation studies found mixed results regarding the program effectiveness of the Alcohol Misuse Prevention Study (AMPS) curriculum. The evaluations that examined the effects of the AMPS program on middle and high school students [Shope and colleagues (1996) and Shope and colleagues (2001)] found some evidence of program effectiveness (although program effects seemed to decay over time), while the study examining the impact of the AMPS program on elementary school students (Shope et al. 1992) found no evidence of program effectiveness.
Alcohol Use and Misuse
Shope and colleagues (1992) found 26 months after the initial AMPS program, there were no significant differences between the treatment and control groups on measures of alcohol use and alcohol misuse.
Susceptibility to Peer Pressure and Internal Health Locus of Control
For students who received the AMPS curriculum in fifth grade, there were no significant differences between the treatment and control groups on measures of susceptibility to peer pressure or internal health locus of control. The results showed the susceptibility to peer pressure increased over time for all students, while scores on internal health locus of control decreased over time for all students.
For students who received the AMPS curriculum in the sixth grade, there were no significant differences between the treatment and control group on measures of susceptibility to peer pressure. For all students, susceptibility to peer pressure increased over time. However, there were significant differences on measures of internal health locus of control. Sixth grade students in the AMPS curriculum group showed no decline in internal health locus of control scores from pretest to the 26-month follow-up, while control group students’ scores did decline on this measure.
Shope and colleagues (1996) found that students who went through the AMPS 10th grade curriculum were rated slightly higher on their refusal skill ability at the grade 10 posttest (average=15.46) than control group students (average=15.00); however, this difference was not significantly different.
Control group boys used significantly more alcohol than AMPS curriculum girls in 12th grade. However, there were no other significant group differences on measures of alcohol use.
The control group as a whole reported significantly more alcohol misuse at the grade 12 posttest than the AMPS curriculum group.
The AMPS curriculum group scored significantly higher at the grade 12 posttest on measures of alcohol prevention knowledge, compared with the control group.
Driving After Drinking
There was no significant effect on students’ reported driving after drinking. However, incidents of driving after drinking occurred significantly more often for control boys than both the control and treatment girls at the grade 12 posttest.
Shope and colleagues (2001) found that there was a marginally significant effect of the AMPS curriculum that appears to last for 1 year. The AMPS curriculum reduced the risk of serious offenses during the first year of licensure by about 20 percent, after adjusting for variables such as age, race, and alcohol use/misuse. The intervention was particularly strong among those students who were drinking less than one drink per week on average before they received the curriculum.
However, no significant effect was found after the first year of licensure. The intervention effect did not last for most of the 7-year follow-up period.
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