PROSPER Long-Term Follow-Up
PROSPER — PROmoting School Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience
The project involves examining long-term effects of an innovative partnership-based intervention delivery model called PROSPER (PROmoting School/community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience). Primary effects examined will be reductions in emerging adult substance misuse, antisocial behaviors and health-risking sexual behaviors, along with associated healthy adult functioning, among project participants who received evidence-based interventions (EBIs) during middle school.
This work extends a randomized control study of the PROSPER model, involving two sequential cohorts of youth and families from an understudied rural population. Fourteen rural school districts in IA and PA (N = 28), ranging in size from approximately 1,300 to 5,200 students, were selected and randomly assigned to either the PROSPER partnership condition or to a usual programming control condition. Local teams in the PROSPER partnership sites selected and implemented family-focused and school-based EBIs for middle school students. The evaluation of intervention outcomes began with approximately 12,000 students (90% of those eligible) in the two cohorts who participated in a 6th grade pretest assessment; follow-up assessments with the students in these cohorts were conducted each spring, through the 12th grade. Following 12th grade, 2,000 randomly selected students from that sample were recruited for continued follow-up assessments. The proposed study will extend those follow-ups to ages 22 and 24, in order to examine the intervention effects through emerging adulthood.
Aims of the proposed study are to: (1) evaluate long-term outcomes of the PROSPER partnership-supported middle-school EBIs; and (2) evaluate mediators and moderators of long-term EBI effects, informed by an extension of the outcome model specified in the original study. Positive results from the first two grant periods have established PROSPER effectiveness, with evidence of: effective functioning of community teams; strong participation in EBIs; long-term, high quality EBI implementation; sustainability of teams and EBIs; increases in community social capital; and economic analyses indicating PROSPER efficiency. Most importantly, results show strong EBI outcomes through middle and high school, with positive effects on: young adolescent competencies (e.g., peer refusal skills); parenting effectiveness and family functioning; reductions in adolescent conduct problems; and reduced misuse of a wide range of substances, including prescription drugs, through the end of high school. These results suggest a unique opportunity for demonstrating early preventive intervention impacts on healthy adult functioning; the prospect of establishing such impacts would constitute a compelling case for national diffusion of the PROSPER model. Literature reviews failed to reveal another study with a comparably large rural sample that allows assessment of intervention effects on problem behaviors, general health, sexual health, and other benefits for participants as they transition into adulthood.