Effects of State Coalitions to Reduce Underage Drinking. A National Evaluation

Alexander C. Wagenaar, Darin J. Erickson, Eileen M. Harwood, Patrick M. O'Malley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Introduction: Drinking by youth remains prevalent. The Reducing Underage Drinking through coalitions (RUD) project funded ten states for 8 years to form coalitions designed to change the policy and normative environment regarding youth access to alcohol. An independent national outcome evaluation of this $21-million effort was conducted. Methods: Using a longitudinal quasi-experimental design, the ten intervention states were compared with the other 40 states, with repeated annual measures of outcomes from 1995 to 2004. Measures included print news media coverage, legislative bills enacted, youth drinking behavior, and youth alcohol-related driving behaviors and traffic crash mortality. Analyses using latent growth curve modeling methods were conducted in 2005. Results: Significant differences in slopes between treatment and comparison states were found for several outcome measures, particularly in the more-proximal outcome domains. Across all outcome domains, the pattern of effects was in the direction of positive effects of the RUD coalitions, although for most individual measures the differences were not statistically significant. The magnitude of observed differences associated with the RUD coalitions were sizable, with an estimated effect size of 1.10 on media coverage, 0.46 on state policies enacted, -0.44 on youth drinking behaviors, and -0.16 on alcohol-related driving and fatal car-crash mortality. Conclusions: The pattern of results and the magnitude of estimated effects provides evidence of effect of the RUD coalitions. The lack of statistically significant differences for most individual outcome measures indicates the difficulty of unambiguously demonstrating the full effects of an effort designed to change behaviors and health outcomes of the entire youth population of multiple states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Monitoring the Future data were collected under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Findings and conclusions are solely the authors’ and do not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation or the many agencies involved in the project. We express deep appreciation for the collaboration and contributions of Richard Yoast, PhD, and staff of the American Medical Association; the staff directors and volunteers at each project site; program staff from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Collette LaFond, JD, and Cindy Silianoff, JD, for collection of legislative data; David Fan, PhD, for collection of media data; and the research staffs at the University of Minnesota and the University of Florida.

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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