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A social skills and parental training intervention for disruptive boys reduces substance use behaviours in adolescence

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Question: Does an intervention comprising social skills training for disruptive boys at school, and training for parents during family visits, reduce substance use behaviours during adolescence?

People: One hundred and seventy-two boys with scores above the 70th percentile on the teacher-rated disruptiveness scale of the Pre-School Behaviour Questionnaire at age 6 years.

Setting: Schools in low socioeconomic neighbourhoods of Montreal, Quebec.

Intervention: Preventative intervention versus control. Boys allocated to the intervention group (n=46) participated in a school-based, small group, social and problem-solving skills training intervention from ages 7 to 9 years. A second component was delivered to parents, who were taught to recognise problematic or inappropriate behaviours, set objectives and reinforce appropriate behaviours based on the Oregon Social Learning Care Model. Boys in the control group (n=126), either received no intervention or intensive observation.

Outcomes: Alcohol use, combining measures of frequency and drunkenness (maximum score of 8), and number of different substances used (maximum score of nine) over the previous 12 months, measured …

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