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Review: some universal family-based prevention programmes provide small reductions in alcohol use in youths in the short and long term

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Are universal family-based programmes effective in preventing alcohol misuse in school-aged children?


Primary outcomes included direct self-reported or objective measures of alcohol consumption or misuse, including alcohol use, frequency and quantity of alcohol use, drinking five or more drinks on any single occasion, and incidence of drunkenness. Secondary outcomes include age of alcohol initiations and age of drunkenness initiation.



Systematic review.

Data sources

Relevant studies published up to January 2002 were identified from a previous Cochrane Review. MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, Project CORK and PsycINFO were systematically searched for studies published between January 2002 and July 2010. References of relevant systematic reviews and included studies were hand searched for additional relevant trials.

Study selection and analysis

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that assessed the effect of universal family-based prevention programmes on alcohol misuse in students aged up to 18 years old were selected for inclusion. Universal programmes are those addressing the entire population in a given setting (eg, schools, families and communities). Any universal family-based psychosocial or educational …

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  • Sources of funding UK Cochrane Collaboration and the NIHR provided support for the review.


  • Competing interests None.

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