The Interaction of Curriculum Type and Implementation Method on 1-year Smoking Outcomes in a School-based Prevention Program

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Leadership Studies | Personality and Social Contexts | Public Health Education and Promotion | Social Psychology and Interaction | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Studies have shown that the effectiveness of programs or curricula may depend in part on who delivers the material. In adolescent health education programs, peer leaders are often recruited to implement programs because they are more persuasive to other adolescents than adults. Teachers also systematically vary how groups are constructed in school-based health education programs. This study compared the effects of three leader and group selection methods within the context of two tobacco prevention programs. Eight schools received a social influences program (Chips) and eight received a program with a multicultural emphasis (Flavor). Within these 16 schools 84 classrooms consisting of 1486 students were randomly assigned to one of three leader and group creation conditions: (i) leaders defined as those who received the most nominations by students and groups created randomly (random group), (ii) same as (i) but groups created by assigning students to the leaders they nominated (network), and (iii) leaders and groups created by teachers (teacher). One year follow-up data showed that main effects of the curriculum and network assignments were non-significant on smoking initiation when entered alone. Interaction terms of curriculum and assignment methods, however, were significant such that the network and teacher conditions were less effective than the random group condition with Chips, and more effective than random group condition with Flavor. These data show that school-based prevention programs should be evaluated in light of who implements the program. Even a peer-led program will be differentially effective based on how leaders are selected and how groups are formed, and this effect may be curriculum dependent.

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© 2006 Oxford University Press