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Health Educ Res. 2004 Oct;19(5):501-13. Epub 2004 May 17.

Teaching a coherent theory of drug action to elementary school children.

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Department of Psychology, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, USA.


This study examined whether two versions of a drug and alcohol curriculum explaining how substances affect behavior and health, one version more causally coherent than the other, were more effective than a control curriculum on disease in changing school-age children's (N=327) beliefs and attitudes regarding cocaine and alcohol. Few differences were found between the two drug and alcohol curricula. Compared to children receiving the control curriculum, however, both treatment groups demonstrated greater understanding of the circulation of alcohol and cocaine throughout the body, the true long-term effects of these substances, and the stimulant effects of cocaine. Moreover, they had less positive attitudes and intentions toward cocaine. Several differences were evident at both a 3-month post-test and a 1-year follow-up, pointing to the potential value of applying an intuitive theories perspective in designing drug prevention and other health education programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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