Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Raising Healthy Children (formerly Skills, Opportunities, and Recognition [SOAR])



Implementer: The Social Development Research Group; University of Washington, School of Social Work


Partners: National Institute on Drug Abuse; the National Institute of Mental Health; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Program Overview: RHC is a universal preventive intervention program targeting elementary school children. It aims to promote positive adult functioning and to prevent mental health problems, crime, and substance use (including tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs) at 21 years of age.


Program Design: RHC is based on the social development model (SDM) and is a universal preventive intervention program focused on reducing antisocial behaviors while enhancing prosocial behaviors. The SDM posits that during a child’s elementary school years, children learn patterns of behavior from socializing units of family and school, with peers playing an increasing role as children get older. Thus, RHC targets socialization within families, classrooms, and peer groups1


The intervention consists of three components: teacher training, child social and emotional skill development, and parent training. Each year during grades 1 through 6, teachers are to receive 5 days of in-service training on proactive classroom management, interactive teaching, and cooperative learning. After completing training, teachers begin to implement the program material which teaches students interpersonal problem-solving skills and refusal skills. The last component, parent training, consists of teaching parents behavior management skills, academic support skills, and skills to reduce risks for drug use2.


Evaluation2: The program was implemented in 18 public elementary schools serving diverse neighborhoods of Seattle Washington. This randomized, controlled trial followed 605 participants up to 21 years of age, 9 years after the intervention ended. The following 3 intervention conditions were compared: a full 6-year intervention (grades 1 through 6), a late 2-year intervention (grades 5 and 6 only), and a no-treatment control condition. The program was assessed based on participants’ self-reports and court records at 21 years of age. 


Key Finding2: Evaluation revealed broad, significant effects on functioning in school and work and on emotional and mental health. Fewer significant effects on crime and substance use were found at 21 years of age. Most outcomes had a consistent dose effect, with the strongest effects in subjects in the full intervention group.




  1. Catalano, R. F., Mazza, J. J., Harachi, T. W., Abbott, R. D., Haggerty, K. P., & Fleming, C. B. (2003). Raising healthy children through enhancing social development in elementary school: Results after 1.5 yearsJournal of School Psychology, 41(2) 143-164.
  2. Hawkins, J. D., Kosterman, R., Catalano, R. F., Hill, K. G., & Abbott, R. D. (2005). Promoting positive adult functioning through social development intervention in childhood: Long-term effects from the Seattle Social Development ProjectArchives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 159(1) 25-31.

Target Audience: Elementary school (10 years and younger), Parents, Teachers
Issues: Underage Drinking
Setting: Schools
Approach: Life Skills
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