Effective school-based preventive interventions for alcohol use in Africa: a systematic review
Background: Despite recognition of the risks of alcohol use and importance of prevention from an early age, the effectiveness of school-based interventions in Africa has not been clarified.
Objective: We aimed to identify effective school-based alcohol use prevention interventions in Africa.
Methods: We searched eight databases for peer-reviewed articles published until February 3, 2019 that reported on randomized controlled trials, cluster randomized controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, pre-post quasi-experimental stud- ies, cohort studies, and case-control studies. The full-texts of relevant studies were searched.
Results: Four of 2797 papers met our eligibility criteria. All reported interventions targeted secondary school students in South Africa and were incorporated in the school curriculum. The interventions comprised multi-component activities with participatory and peer educational methods, and applied modified programs originally developed in the US. However, inter- vention effects were inconsistent among studies, although the interventions tended to have a positive effect on non-drinkers at baseline, with stronger effects in girls.
Conclusion: Interventions had positive effects on students that were non-drinkers at baseline, especially girls. Although we could not find robust evidence that school-based interventions changed attitudes, frequency/quantity of drinking, and intentions to use alcohol, one intervention showed an increase in students’ alcohol refusal self-efficacy.
Keywords: School-based preventive interventions; alcohol use; Africa; systematic review.
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