Implementation and baseline findings from a randomized controlled evaluation of the Parent Corps substance use prevention initiative
Gard, J., Ashley, O. S., Lasater, B. M., Bailey-Stone, L. K., Heller, D. C., Herman-Stahl, M., ... Jones, P. J. (2006, November). Implementation and baseline findings from a randomized controlled evaluation of the Parent Corps substance use prevention initiative. Presented at American Public Health Association Annual Conference, .
Despite evidence of parents’ influence on children’s substance use, effectiveness of parent-led prevention groups has not been fully evaluated. The Parent Corps is a national training system and network of parent groups to prevent adolescent substance use. This presentation describes an evaluation of the Parent Corps funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, presents program implementation data and baseline data, and discusses treatment/control contamination potential. The evaluation assesses the impact and implementation of the Parent Corps at 20 schools in 10 states. Implementation data collected through mail surveys from 19 parent leaders and 20 parent volunteers suggest the program is driven by paid female parent leaders and female volunteers who recruit parents at school and home by telephone and e-mail. Each parent leader recruited and trained a median of 35 parent volunteers. As of December 2005, about one-third of parent volunteers were still active. Parent volunteers reported spending little time on Parent Corps activities; only half recruited other parents into the program, and few formed parent groups. Baseline data collected via household telephone interviews with 1,686 parents and their adolescents show treatment and control groups of adolescents were similar regarding adolescent lifetime substance use and demographic characteristics, except adolescent gender. However, 42% of parents surveyed reported knowing parents at schools in the opposite study condition. This potential contamination issue and lack of exposure to the program (as suggested by the implementation findings) are threats to the ability of the evaluation to detect statistically significant differences between treatment/control schools.