LifeSkills Training and educational performance

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

MOST PARENTS AND EDUCATORS recognize that school performance suffers when students engage in substance use, violence, or a variety of other problem behaviors. Several problem behaviors, 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 programs for students that effectively prevent these and other problem behaviors. Because substance use and other similar behaviors often play a detrimental role in educational achievement, prevention programs that reduce these behaviors may also help to promote academic performance. In addition, prevention programs that teach students 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 use 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 behaviors 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 behaviors.

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June 2012