LifeSkills Training and educational performance

Kenneth Griffin and Gilbert Botvin describe how a school-based programme proven to prevent teenage substance abuse and violence can also promote educational performance

MOST PARENTS AND EDUCATORS recognise that school performance suffers when pupils engage in substance abuse, violence, or a variety of other problem behaviours. Several problem behaviours, including the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD), often begin during early adolescence. Considerable progress has been made, however, in developing and testing theory-driven classroom programmes for pupils that effectively prevent these and other problem behaviours. Because substance abuse and other similar behaviours often play a detrimental role in educational attainment, prevention programmes that reduce these behaviours may also help to promote academic performance. In addition, prevention programmes that teach pupils a broad range of life skills not only can prevent problems, but also may promote educational success.

What we know
● LifeSkills Training is an evidence-based approach, proven to prevent substance abuse and violence by addressing key risk and protective factors within a positive youth development framework.
● LifeSkills Training addresses key risk and protective factors that research shows are associated with multiple problem behaviours and poor academic outcomes. Thus, the LST approach offers the potential to promote academic success, as well as to prevent ATOD use and other problem behaviours.

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June 2012