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Brief, personality-targeted coping-skills intervention reduces onset and escalation of drug misuse

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Are targeted coping-skills interventions efficacious in preventing illicit drug use in adolescents with personality risk factors for substance misuse?


Seven hundred and thirty-two students aged between 13 and 16 years with elevated scores on self-reported measures of hopelessness, anxiety sensitivity, impulsivity and sensation seeking (scores ≥1 SD above school mean on one or more of these four Substance Use Risk Profile Scale subscales). Participants were grouped on the basis of their highests score on a specific subscale. If more than one subscale score was elevated, they were placed in the group where they deviated most from the mean (based on z scores).


Twenty-four state-run secondary schools in London, UK; time period not reported.


Personality-targeted coping-skills intervention or no intervention (control). The intervention consisted of two 90 min group sessions targeting each of the four personality profiles. The sessions were based on manuals, including psychoeducational, motivational, and cognitive behavioural therapy components and real-life scenarios.


Onset and frequency of illicit drug use, and number of drugs used (assessed using the Reckless Behaviour Questionnaire at 6-, 12-, 18- …

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  • Source of funding Action on Addiction.


  • Competing interests None.

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