Pre-Intervention Effects of a Community-Based Intervention Targeting Alcohol Use (LEF); The Role of Participatory Research and Publicity
This study explores the impact of the ‘pre-intervention effects’ of a community-based intervention. This refers to participatory research processes and parallel publicity in the media on changes in alcohol use and relevant mechanisms (rules and norms about alcohol, accessibility of alcohol in a formal setting) among adolescents before any intervention is implemented. The aim was to investigate the contribution of these processes (i.e., pre-intervention effects) to changes in intervention-targeted factors before any actual intervention was implemented.
In a quasi-experimental study, data were collected twice by means of self-report among adolescents living in two municipalities (control and experimental condition).
A regression analysis showed negative pre-intervention main effects on adolescents’ perceived accessibility of alcohol in a formal setting. Moreover, among adolescents aged 15 years and older, the normative decline in strictness of rules and norms was less steep in the experimental condition compared to the control condition. Additionally, adolescents aged 14 years and younger in the experimental condition reported more weekly alcohol use compared to their peers in the control condition. No differential effects across gender were found.
To conclude, applying a co-creational approach in the development of an intervention not only contributes to more effective interventions in the end, but the involvement of and discussions in the community when planning the intervention contribute to changes in targeted factors. This implies that public discussions about the development of intervention strategies should be considered as an essential feature of co-creation in community-based interventions.