Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking




Developer: Columbia University, School of Social Work

Partners: Recruitment through New York, New Jersey, and Delaware community agencies

Program Overview: This life skills intervention aimed to reduce adolescent alcohol consumption and abuse through a CD-ROM based program for 10-12 year olds.

Program Design: This program is based in social learning theory and problem behavior theory. Materials were developed based in these theories, and translated into a CD-ROM for adolescents. An additional parent component was designed based on family interaction theory. The CD-ROM component was administered to adolescents over ten 45 minute sessions. Materials covered a wide range of skills and were incorporated into the SODAS model, which consists of 5 steps:

  • Stop - encourages youth to pause and identify the problem
  • Options - consider options for addressing the problem
  • Decide - to choose which option best addresses the problem
  • Act - in this step the CD-ROM acts out the students decision
  • Self-praise - once the correct decision is made students are rewarded

The parent intervention attempted to teach parents ways to encourage their children to incorporate the lessons learned from the intervention into their everyday experiences. Materials were delivered through a 30 minute video session, print materials, and newsletters. Parents and students received booster sessions following the initial one year program.

Evaluation: Program effects were evaluated using pre and post tests as well as annual follow ups. Students, ages 10-12, volunteered to participate in the program and were subsequently assigned to one of three conditions: control, intervention, or intervention plus the parent component. Questionnaires measured peer influence, family involvement, alcohol consumption, cigarette use, and marijuana use.

Key findings: Data were collected annually, up to 7 years after the intervention. 

  • Analysis of the first three years of data showed that students receiving either intervention experienced smaller increases in past 30 day alcohol consumption, at post test and up to three years after the intervention1
  • At 7-year follow up students participating in the intervention showed significantly lower past 30 day alcohol consumption, reports of consuming 5 or more drinks on an occasion, higher self-reported alcohol refusal rates, fewer friends who consume alcohol, less peer pressure, and lower intentions to drink2


1. Schinke, S. P., Schwinn, T. M., DiNoia, J., & Cole, K. C. (2004). Reducing the risks of alcohol use among urban youth: Three-year effects of a computer-based intervention with and without parent involvement.Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 65(4), 443-449.

2. Schinke, S. P., Schwinn, T. M., & Fang, L. (2010).Longitudinal outcomes of an alcohol abuse prevention program for urban adolescentsJournal of Adolescent Health, 46(5), 451-457.

Target Audience: Elementary school (10 years and younger), Middle school (10-14 years), Parents
Issues: Underage Drinking
Setting: School clubs or community organizations
Approach: Life Skills
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