Who benefits most from a broadly targeted prevention program? Differential efficacy across populations in the Teen Outreach Program

Abstract:

This study examined a highly successful, well-documented, national program to prevent teenage pregnancy and school failure—the Teen Outreach program—to address a fundamental question: How well can a developmentally focused, broadly targeted prevention program address the needs of those students within the program who are at the highest risk of problematic behavior. The hypothesis that the developmental focus of a broadly targeted intervention would lead it to have greater program efficacy among those young people who began the program at greatest risk was examined with multisite data collected on more than 3,300 Teen Outreach and comparison group students. Results confirmed prior findings regarding the overall efficacy of the Teen Outreach program, and indicated that the program appeared most effective for those students at greatest initial risk of the problem behaviors being targeted. Implications for the targeting of the Teen Outreach program specifically and of similar primary prevention programs more generally are discussed.

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