"Effects of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign on Youths." American Journal of Public Health, 2008.

Type: 
Article
Author(s): 
Robert Hornik, Lela Jacobsohn, Robert Orwin, Andrea Piesse, and Graham Kalton

Objectives. We examined the cognitive and behavioral effects of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign on youths aged 12.5 to 18 years and report core evaluation results.

Methods. From September 1999 to June 2004, 3 nationally representative cohorts of US youths aged 9 to 18 years were surveyed at home 4 times. Sample size ranged from 8117 in the first to 5126 in the fourth round (65% first-round response rate, with 86%–93% of still eligible youths interviewed subsequently). Main outcomes were self-reported lifetime, past-year, and past-30-day marijuana use and related cognitions.

Results. Most analyses showed no effects from the campaign. At one round, however, more ad exposure predicted less intention to avoid marijuana use (γ = −0.07; 95% confidence interval [CI] = −0.13, −0.01) and weaker antidrug social norms (γ = −0.05; 95% CI = −0.08, −0.02) at the subsequent round. Exposure at round 3 predicted marijuana initiation at round 4 (γ = 0.11; 95% CI = 0.00, 0.22).

Conclusions. Through June 2004, the campaign is unlikely to have had favorable effects on youths and may have had delayed unfavorable effects. The evaluation challenges the usefulness of the campaign.