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Adolescence. 1989 Summer;24(94):481-502.

Communication skills and self-esteem in prevention of destructive behaviors.

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Institute for Studies in Addiction, University of North Texas, Denton 76208.


This study demonstrates the long-range effectiveness of SAY IT STRAIGHT training as a school-based program for the prevention of destructive behaviors by comparing juvenile police offenders among trained and untrained 9th-12th graders for 1 1/2 years following training. In the 1984-85 school year, 357 of the 740 9th-12th graders in a southwestern town completed SAY IT STRAIGHT training. Participation was voluntary and required parental permission. During a five-month pretraining period which began with the first day of school, the number of juvenile police offenders was not significantly different among students who would eventually be trained or not be trained. During the following 7 months including summer vacation, there were significantly fewer offenders among the trained students. The following school year and summer vacation there were again significantly fewer offenders among the trained students. During the whole 1 1/2-year study, the untrained students had about 4.5 times as many criminal offenses as the trained students and their offenses were more severe. Finally, 9th, 10th, and 12th graders as well as 11th-grade females who had been trained showed a significant shift toward behavioral intentions reflecting a greater willingness to implement their constructive decisions and feel comfortable doing so. This study extends the applicability of SAY IT STRAIGHT training which previously has been reported to significantly reduce alcohol/drug-related school suspensions among 6th-8th graders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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