Sally Bradshaw, Sarah Lynch, Jack Worth
02 September 2015
The Alcohol Education Trust commissioned NFER to conduct an independent evaluation of the impact of their Talk About Alcohol intervention. It takes an early intervention and harm minimisation approach and gives teachers free printed and online tools to encourage students age 11-18 to make informed decisions concerning alcohol consumption. The focus of this report is on the fourth student survey in a series, carried out January-March 2015 when students were age 15-16 (in Year 11). This was two years after they received their last intervention sessions. The study compares change in outcomes for an intervention group and a statistically matched comparison group.
- There is evidence of an association between the intervention and a delay in the age at which some teenagers start to drink. Students in the intervention group had significantly lower odds than those in the comparison group of ever having had a drink.
- The increase in the proportion of frequent drinkers over time was less among the intervention group, although the difference between groups was not statistically significant.
- Knowledge amongst the comparison group had caught up with the intervention group (there was no significant difference between them at age 15-16).
- The findings suggest that giving young people the facts about alcohol is not the only factor likely to influence behaviour. Helping young people to develop resilience and self-management skills to manage risk is also important. Messages about responsible drinking are important at this age.