The Living the Example Social Media Substance Use Prevention Program: A Pilot Evaluation
William Evans, Elizabeth Andrade, Sandra Goldmeer, Michelle Smith, Jeremy Snider, & Gunilla Girardo
Evans et al. studied high school students in upstate New York in an effort to determine whether peer social media posts could reduce teen substance use. The social media intervention was derived from aspects of the Living the Example (LTE) in-person prevention campaign. All social media posts were uploaded by trained teen participants. Pre- and post-intervention surveys investigated adolescents’ reasons for using drugs. The most commonly cited reasons included family stress, school-related stress, and boredom. Teenagers were less likely to report intended marijuana use after engaging with the LTE social media campaign. By contrast, intended marijuana use increased from pre-test to post-test among teens who did not engage with the LTE campaign. Evans et al. found similar use patterns for all drugs discussed in the survey, not just marijuana, which was the targeted substance. They conclude that social media may be useful for peer-to-peer anti-substance use campaigns, but that the structure of the targeted intervention requires further research.