Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


This report describes a program for advancing adolescent skill development in order to reduce the possibility of inappropriate behavioral choices related to substance use and sexuality. The targeted population consisted of middle and high school students in a growing, middle class, suburban community, located in central New Jersey. The problems of substance abuse and early sexual involvement were documented through data revealing the numbers of students seeking intervention and treatment through school based services. Analysis of probable cause data revealed students reporting a skills related to decision-making, problem solving, coping with stress, communicating assertively, and listening actively. Faculty reported student inabilities in critical thinking, and interpersonal skills. Reviews of curricula content and instructional strategies revealed a curricular over-emphasis on information-giving and a lack of planning for and delivering skill development. Solution strategies suggested by knowledgeable others, combined with an analysis of the problem setting, resulted in the selection of two major categories of intervention: a revision the Family Life and Substance Abuse Education program grades 7-8-9; and the establishment of a staff development program to increase the amount and quality of instructional strategies related to student skill development. Post intervention data indicated an increase in student use of critical thinking skills, an improvement in the Targeted communication skills, and an increase in understanding of stress and use of coping skills.

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