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Project Northland

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

Provides classroom curricula, peer leadership, youth-driven extra-curricular activities, parent involvement programs, and community activism to reduce teen alcohol use, improve parent-child communication about alcohol use, increase students' self-efficacy to resist alcohol and understanding of alcohol use norms, and reduce students' ease of access to alcohol in their communities.

Program Outcomes

  • Alcohol

Program Type

  • Academic Services
  • Alcohol Prevention and Treatment
  • Community Mobilization
  • School - Individual Strategies

Program Setting

  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Universal Prevention (Entire Population)

Age

  • Early Adolescence (12-14) - Middle School
  • Late Adolescence (15-18) - High School

Gender

  • Male and Female

Race/Ethnicity

  • All Race/Ethnicity

Endorsements

  • Blueprints: Promising
  • Crime Solutions: Promising
  • OJJDP Model Programs: Promising
  • SAMHSA: 2.9-3.4

Program Information Contact

Project Northland
Hazelden Publishing and Education
P. O. Box 176
Center City, MN 55012-0176
Phone: 1-800-328-9000 ext. 4324
Email: kmcelfresh@hazelden.org
www.hazelden.org/web/go/projectnorthland

Program Developer/Owner

  • Cheryl L. Perry, Ph.D.
  • University of Texas School of Public Health

Brief Description of the Program

Project Northland is a six-year intervention delivered over seven academic years from middle to high school, but a shortened, 3-year version may also be used in grades 6, 7, and 8. It is a multi-level intervention to include demand (individual level) and supply (environmental level) reduction strategies. Its main intervention components include classroom curricula, peer leadership, youth-driven extra-curricular activities, parent involvement programs, and community activism. By intervening on multiple levels, Project Northland strives to teach students skills to effectively negotiate social influences to drink, while at the same time directly modifying the social environment of youth (i.e., peers, parents, school, and community).

See: Full Description

Outcomes

Minnesota Study (Perry et al., 1996, 2002)

  • Students in the intervention drank significantly less and reported less alcohol onset than control students at the end of 8th grade.
  • Students in the intervention group who were never-drinkers at the beginning of sixth grade not only drank significantly less than students in the control group, they also smoked fewer cigarettes and used less marijuana at the end of the eighth grade.
  • Project Northland was effective in changing Peer Influence to use alcohol and Perceived Access to alcohol by the end of Phase I (8th grade), but these psychosocial variables were not affected during Phase II (grades 11 and 12). 
  • Students in the intervention schools were significantly less likely to increase their Tendency to Use Alcohol and binge drinking, and marginally less likely to increase past month alcohol use during grades 11 and 12.

Significant Program Effects on Risk and Protective Factors:

  • Normative expectations about how many young people drink, parent-child communication about the consequences of alcohol use, and the importance of reasons for not using alcohol were also impacted by the end of grade 8.
  • The intervention reduced the ability to purchase alcohol in off-sale outlets during Phase II of implementation (grades 11 and 12).

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

Project Northland reduced alcohol use among primarily white students from rural, lower-middle- to middle-class counties in Minnesota. However, it failed to have much influence on primarily African-American and Latino students in Chicago. In a study in Croatia, the intervention did not significantly affect male students, but was highly significant for females on the Tendency to Use Alcohol Scale that combines intentions with behavior.

Peer rewards for antisocial behavior

287

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Individual: Favorable attitudes towards drug use, Substance use
  • Peer: Peer substance use
  • Family: Parental attitudes favorable to drug use
  • Neighborhood/Community: Community disorganization, Laws and norms favorable to drug use/crime*, Low neighborhood attachment, Perceived availability of drugs*
Protective Factors
  • Individual: Perceived risk of drug use, Prosocial involvement, Refusal skills
  • Peer: Interaction with prosocial peers
  • Family: Opportunities for prosocial involvement with parents, Parental involvement in education, Rewards for prosocial involvement with parents
  • School: Opportunities for prosocial involvement in education, Rewards for prosocial involvement in school
  • Neighborhood/Community: Opportunities for prosocial involvement, Rewards for prosocial involvement

*Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program.

See also: Project Northland Logic Model (PDF)

Training and Technical Assistance

The most important goal of Project Northland training is to prepare implementers to deliver Project Northland with competence and confidence. Hazelden-certified Project Northland trainers provide a strong foundation for implementing with fidelity. Training presents an opportunity to learn from the experiences of others who have implemented Project Northland many times.

Training is an opportunity for participants to:

  • Discuss comprehensive prevention in relation to Project Northland
  • Learn the research behind Project Northland
  • Acquire effective strategies to prevent and reduce teen use of alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs
  • Get ready to present their grade-level curriculum, by learning how to effectively integrate the program guide, the student and parent handouts, and the CD-ROM
  • Interact with other professionals and educators committed to youth health and safety
  • Shift the community toward no-use norms for underage drinking

Specific grade-level training is available for Slick Tracy (grade 6), Amazing Alternatives (grade 7), Powerlines (grade 8) and Class Action (High School). Each grade-level requires a day of training, although a comprehensive Project Northland (grades 6-8) training can be done in two days, with one day required for Class Action.

Training Certification Process

Training-of-Trainers: In certain situations, Hazelden Publishing will conduct a training-of-trainers to allow qualified individuals to conduct Project Northland implementation training for personnel within their school district. The Training-of-Trainers will require one additional day per grade level. For more information, contact Hazelden Training at 651-213-4672.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

The main evaluation of Project Northland, a multi-level, multi-year intervention program for youth, began with a 7-year study of six counties and 24 school districts in northeast Minnesota. School districts (and adjoining communities) were randomized to an intervention or reference condition. Students in grade 6 at the baseline assessment in fall 2001 (n = 2,351) were followed through grade 12 in spring 1998 (with 67.8% of the original sample completing the assessment). Outcome measures came from surveys of students about the use of alcohol and other substances, surveys of parents about changes at home in alcohol use, and surveys of community leaders about alcohol policy changes.

Additional 3-year evaluations of the project came from samples in Chicago, Croatia, and Kankakee County, Illinois (none are strong enough methodologically to meet the criteria for replication). The Chicago evaluation randomly assigned 61 schools to intervention and control conditions. Beginning in fall 2002, a racially mixed sample of 5,298 grade 6 through 8 students in the schools was examined over the three years. The Croatian evaluation randomly assigned 26 schools to intervention and control conditions. Rather than follow the same sample over time, the study assessed all grade 6 students in the first year (2003), all grade 7 students in the second year (2004), and all grade 8 students in the third year (2005). The analysis then examined aggregate changes in alcohol use for 1,981 students. The Kankakee evaluation selected 14 schools for the intervention in 2002 but, rather than assign other schools to a control condition, it used previous data from 1999 on another program intervention for comparison. The study followed grade 6 students in 2002 for three years to grade 8, but did not report the number of students participating.

Peer Implementation Sites

Kankakee/Iroqois ROE
Brenda Wetzel
189 E Court St, Suite 600
Kankakee, IL 60901
815-936-4630
bwetzel@i-kan.org

References

Center for Prevention Research and Development (2004). Project Northland evaluation for Iroquois-Kankakee Regional Office of Education. Unpublished report. Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois.

Komro, K. A., Perry, C. L., Veblen-Mortenson, S. V., Farbakhsh, K., Toomey, T. L., Stigler, M. H., . . . Williams, C. L. (2008). Outcomes from a randomized controlled trial of a multi-component alcohol use preventive intervention for urban youth: Project Northland Chicago. Addiction, 103(4), 606-618.

Perry, C. L., Williams, C. L, Komro, K. A., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Forster, J. L., Bernstein-Lachter, R., . . . McGovern, P. (2000). Project Northland high school interventions: Community action to reduce adolescent alcohol use. Health Education and Behavior, 27(1), 29-49.

Perry, C. L., Williams, C. L, Komro, K. A., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Stigler, M. H., Munson, K. A., . . . Forster, J. L. (2002). Project Northland: Long-term outcomes of a community action to reduce adolescent alcohol use. Health Education and Research Theory and Practice, 17(1), 117-132.

Perry, C. L., Williams, C. L., Veblen-Mortenson, S., Toomey, T. L., Komro, K. A., Anstine, P. S., . . . Wolfson, M. (1996). Project Northland: Outcomes of a communitywide alcohol use prevention program during early adolescence. American Journal of Public Health, 86(7), 956-965.

Stigler, M. H., Perry, C. L. Komro, K. A., Cudeck, R., & Williams, C. L. (2006). Teasing apart a multiple component approach to adolescent alcohol prevention: What worked in Project Northland? Prevention Science, 7, 269-280.

West, B., Abatemarco, D., Ohman-Strickland, P. A., Zec, V., Russo, A., & Milic, R. (2008). Project Northland in Croatia: Results and lessons learned. Journal of Drug Education, 38, 55-70.