Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counseling and Personnel

First Advisor

Dr. Edward L. Trembley

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Griffeth

Third Advisor

Dr. Bob Hopkins

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Brad Huitema


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a primary prevention alternatives strategy with undergraduate college students. The prevention approach was examined to determine its effect upon the students' drug knowledge, drug attitudes, drug use behavior, and participation in alternative behaviors.

The design used was the pre-test - post-test control group design. There were five groups and two group leaders. The five groups consisted of two reinforcement of alternatives groups, two placebo/discussion groups and one control group. A total of sixtyseven volunteer subjects were randomly assigned across the five groups. The reinforcement and placebo/discussion groups were exposed to six two-hour group sessions over a six week period. The control group underwent only pre- and post-testing. Subjects in the reinforcement groups received positive verbal reinforcement from the leader for participation in drug alternative behavior and anti-drug attitudes. The placebo group subjects did not receive positive verbal reinforcement from the neutral leader, but were permitted to discuss any drug-related topic.

The scales employed for pre- and post-testing were the Pennsylvania State University Drug Education Evaluation Scales developed by Swisher and Horan in 1973. The specific scales include a Drug Knowledge Scale, Drug Attitude Scale, and a Personal Drug Use Inventory. In addition, a Modified Pennsylvania State University Personal Drug Use Scale, developed by Evans and D'Auge.lli in 1975, was used to measure drug use and frequency of drug use. An Alternatives Behavior Scale, developed by the author, was used to measure participation in drug alternative behavior. Two psychological inventories, the California Personality Inventory and the Mooney Problem Checklist, were administered to determine the overall psychological adjustment of the subjects prior to treatment.

No significant treatment effects were found. The implications of these results for counselor educators and college student personnel professionals are discussed and additional research is recommended.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access