Human Screen Project - skills to deal with risk of additive behaviors among vulnerable young people
Authors: Sofia Nunes, Carla Frazão, Sandra Barreiro, Frederico Condeço
Background: The CRI Ribatejo Prevention Team guides its intervention based on the principles of effective prevention, safeguarding multi-component, continued, interactive and evaluated preventive interventions. This project of intervention based on life skills component to deal with the risk of additive behaviors, of selective level, had the following objectives:
• Increase personal and social skills (assertiveness, communication, decision-making capacity, self-concept and vocational investment);
• Increase knowledge about alcohol and cannabis, by demystifying myths and associated beliefs;
• Increase the perception of risk and negative expectations and decrease positive expectations.
Methodology: The project was developed in 12 sessions, dynamic and reflexive, with a total duration of 120 minutes per session. The first 9 sessions focused on the development of personal and social skills, two sessions focused on the informative component regarding alcohol and cannabis and the last is the evaluation session. The project was developed by two prevention team technicians, with the collaboration of the responsible teacher. The protocol of outcome evaluation implied the application of a questionnaire, pre and post intervention, paired. The process evaluation was carried out with the students and teachers. The sample consists of 3 groups of alternative curricula of vocational training of 2 Professional Schools of Ribatejo, with a total of 53 students targeted for this project (retention rate 79%).
Results: The target group attends professional schools in the Ribatejo region. In terms of gender, 76% are male. The ages ranged from 15 to 19 years. The analysis allowed to evaluate the evolution of the students in relation to the development of socio-emotional competences, as well as to understand the evolution and demystification of alcohol and cannabis related myths and beliefs; it also allowed us to perceive the evolution of the prevalence and frequency of consumption before and after the intervention and negative and positive expectations of the use of psychoactive substances. It was possible to identify improvements in attitudes in the formal classroom contexts, as well as the awareness and reflexive capacity regarding the implications of the habits of consumption in the classroom.
Conclusion: The evaluation of life skills projects to deal with the risk of addictive behaviours among vulnerable young people, at a selective level, is still poorly studied and there is a need for further studies validated and adapted to these target groups. This project needs a quasi-experimental evaluation, but it allows pointing out guidelines for the production of more focused projects directed at vulnerable groups of young people in relation to the additive behaviors, pointing to the adaptation and creation of new methodologies not only to the target group, but also for schools and families. The connection to the school was reinforced with this intervention. In terms of impact evaluation, the application of the project allowed to promote the recognition of the problem regarding the use of substances and the need to reduce frequency and / or stop consumption, that culminated with the referral of two students to the indicated prevention response of Ribatejo CRI and three students to the school's psychological services.