Evaluating the Effects of Project DARE in Rural Southeast Minnesota Schools
Thompson, David D.
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The Problem. The purpose of this study is to determine whether differences exist in knowledge and attitude toward chemical substances and use between groups receiving instruction with the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program and no specific drug education program. The study also investigates the effect of gender and pretesting. Procedures. A sample of over 500 students from eight rural Minnesota schools were included in the study. The students were administered a 36-item knowledge assessment to measure knowledge related to drugs, and a 74-item attitude survey used to measure drug knowledge, self-esteem, and attitude toward chemical usage, police, resistance, and drugs. The data were collected using a Solomon four group design and analyzed using the three-way Analysis of Variance. The alpha-level was .05. T-tests were used to determine differences for the DARE group that participated in the pretest and posttest administrations. Findinqs. The DARE students scored statistically significantly higher on the knowledge assessment. In both the DARE and non-DARE groups, girls scored significantly higher than boys. The results of the attitude survey revealed that students instructed in the DARE program experienced statistically significantly higher scores for self-esteem and drug knowledge scales. The attitude toward police scale was the only scale in which pretesting had a statistically significant effect. In the group of DARE students who took both the pretest and posttest, it was found that statistically significant differences existed for the knowledge assessment and for all of the scales of the attitude survey. Conclusions. The evidence presented in this study indicated gains in drug knowledge assessment, as well as drug knowledge, self-esteem, and attitude toward drugs scales from the attitude survey, can be attributed to the scope and sequence of the DARE program. In this study, the results were mixed as to whether the DARE program improves resistance and attitude toward police. Recommendations. Based on statistically significant results from the knowledge assessment and attitude survey, it is recommended that the Project DARE program should be implemented into a school's comprehensive drug prevention education program. It is recommended that the curriculum and instruction be reevaluated and modified with additional student instructional time being devoted to resistance training. A longitudinal study is recommended for DARE students during their high school years.
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