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Evaluating the long-term effectiveness of school-based depression, anxiety, and substance use prevention into young adulthood: protocol for the Climate School Combined study

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posted on 01.11.2018, 00:00 authored by Louise Birrell, Nicola C Newton, Tim Slade, Catherine Chapman, Louise Mewton, Nyanda McBride, Leanne Hides, Mary Lou Chatterton, Steve Allsop, Annalise Healy, Marius Mather, Catherine Quinn, Cathy Mihalopoulos, Maree Teesson
BACKGROUND: Mental health and substance use disorders are the leading causes of global disability in children and youth. Both tend to first onset or escalate in adolescence and young adulthood, calling for effective prevention during this time. The Climate Schools Combined (CSC) study was the first trial of a Web-based combined universal approach, delivered through school classes, to prevent both mental health and substance use problems in adolescence. There is also limited evidence for the cost-effectiveness of school-based prevention programs. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this protocol paper is to describe the CSC follow-up study, which aims to determine the long-term efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the CSC prevention program for depression, anxiety, and substance use (alcohol and cannabis use) up to 7 years post intervention. METHODS: A cluster randomized controlled trial (the CSC study) was conducted with 6411 participants aged approximately 13.5 years at baseline from 2014 to 2016. Participating schools were randomized to 1 of 4 conditions: (1) control (health education as usual), (2) Climate Substance Use (universal substance use prevention), (3) Climate Mental Health (universal mental health prevention), or (4) CSC (universal substance use and mental health prevention). It was hypothesized that the CSC program would be more effective than conditions (1) to (3) in reducing alcohol and cannabis use (and related harms), anxiety, and depression symptoms as well as increasing knowledge related to alcohol, cannabis, anxiety, and depression. This long-term study will invite follow-up participants to complete 3 additional Web-based assessments at approximately 5, 6, and 7 years post baseline using multiple sources of locator information already provided to the research team. The primary outcomes include alcohol and cannabis use (and related harms) and mental health symptoms. An economic evaluation of the program will also be conducted using both data linkage as well as self-report resource use and quality of life measures. Secondary outcomes include self-efficacy, social networks, peer substance use, emotion regulation, and perfectionism. Analyses will be conducted using multilevel mixed-effects models within an intention-to-treat framework. RESULTS: The CSC long-term follow-up study is funded from 2018 to 2022 by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (APP1143555). The first follow-up wave commences in August 2018, and the results are expected to be submitted for publication in 2022. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to provide a long-term evaluation of combined universal substance use and mental health prevention up to 7 years post intervention. Evidence of sustained benefits into early adulthood would provide a scalable, easy-to-implement prevention strategy with the potential for widespread dissemination to reduce the considerable harms, burden of disease, injury, and social costs associated with youth substance use and mental disorders. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): PRR1-10.2196/11372.

History

Journal

JMIR research protocols

Volume

7

Issue

11

Article number

e11372

Pagination

1 - 13

Publisher

JMIR Publications

Location

Toronto, Ont.

ISSN

1929-0748

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Louise Birrell, Nicola C Newton, Tim Slade, Catherine Chapman, Louise Mewton, Nyanda McBride, Leanne Hides, Mary Lou Chatterton, Steve Allsop, Annalise Healy, Marius Mather, Catherine Quinn, Cathrine Mihalopoulos, Maree Teesson