Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Teen Intervene



Developer: Hazelden

Partners: Funding from National Institutes of Health

Program Overview: Teen Intervene is a brief intervention program which aims to reduce alcohol consumption and drug use among students ages 12-18 who currently consume alcohol and use drugs.

Program Design: The study of this program tested two versions of the program. One version included adolescents only and the second included parents as well. The program uses two 60 minute sessions of motivational interviewing style interventions for adolescents, and for the parent version a third session is added. In the first two sessions adolescents have an individual sessions with a trained therapist who uses a motivational interviewing style approach. The first session encourages adolescents to examine the pros and cons of their alcohol consumption and drug use, to set goals for making changes, and to negotiate changes in these goals with the counselor. The second session is delivered 7-10 days later and focuses on the adolescents' progress toward achieving the goals they had negotiated previously, and teaches skills to assist them. These skills include learning to identify high risk situations and strategies for resisting peer and social pressure. Once students are taught these skills they are asked to reassess their willingness to change and to develop long term goals for change. The third session, delivered in the parent version uses this same motivational interviewing style, but with the parent or guardian. In this session the therapist counseled parents regarding their child's alcohol consumption and drug use, improving parental monitoring and control, and the parent's own alcohol consumption and drug use behaviors. Adolescent interventions were conducted in a school setting, while the parent intervention was conducted in the home.

Evaluation: A study to evaluate the effectiveness of the Teen Intervene program was conducted using students from public schools who were identified by counselors or administrative assistant staff as possibly using drugs, students were then assessed according to DSM-IV criteria using the Adolescent Diagnostic Interview for abuse and dependence. Students who met eligibility criteria were randomly assigned to either the adolescent only (n = 136) or adolescent and parent intervention (n = 123). A smaller control group (n = 56) was recruited after the intervention groups. In-person interviews were conducted at baseline and a 6 month follow up in order to address alcohol and drug outcomes (for more information on outcomes and scales used to assess them, see Dembo et al. 2012).

Key findings1Both the adolescent only and adolescent plus parent versions of the intervention showed statistically significant differences in outcomes when compared to the control group:

  • The intervention groups reported fewer days of alcohol consumption
  • Alcohol dependence and abuse were less prevalent among intervention groups

Program Website: www.hazelden.org


1. Dembo, R., Gulledge, L., Karas, I., Winters, K. C., & Belenko, S. (2012). Impact of brief intervention for drug-abusing adolescents in a school setting: Outcomes and mediating factorsJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 42(3), 279-288.

Target Audience: High school (15-18 years old), Middle school (10-14 years), Parents
Issues: Underage Drinking
Setting: Local government/ law enforcement departments, Primary health care settings, Schools
Approach: Motivational Interviewing, Motivation Enhancement
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