Is peer education effective in preventing adolescents’ addictive behaviours? A systematic re-view

Author/s Mattia Mazzarese, Caterina Primi, Maria Anna Donati
Publishing Year 2022 Issue 2022/1 Language Italian
Pages 30 P. 61-90 File size 325 KB
DOI 10.3280/PDS2022-001005
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Peer education is a widespread approach at the international level in the field of adolescents’ risky behaviours. Nevertheless, only one study systematically assessed the effectiveness of this approach in addiction prevention. The purpose of this systematic review was to overcome this deficiency by evaluating the effectiveness of peer education interventions aimed at preventing adolescents’ addictive behaviours, such as substance use and gambling. After having analysed the relevant articles identified through four databases (Google Scholar, PubMed, Scopus e PsycINFO), fifteen studies meeting predefined eligibility criteria have been included in the qualitative summary. Seven of these studies focused on tobacco, four on alcohol, three on non-better specified substances, and one on multiple substances consumption. No studies aimed at gambling prevention have been identified. The quality assess-ment of the studies has been conducted through a specific standardized tool and revealed many critical issues relating to the research tools and methods used. Only three studies met the criteria requested to be classified as qualitatively moderate - the others have been classified as weak. In the aforementioned studies, modest evidence about the effectiveness of the interven-tions on the prevention of alcohol or tobacco consumption was found. Overall, the interven-tions showed significant effects mainly upon knowledge, and to a lesser extent upon attitudes and behaviours. Therefore, evidence of the effectiveness of the peer education method in pre-venting adolescents’ addictions is still weak.

Keywords: peer education, systematic review, adolescents, efficacy, addiction.

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Mattia Mazzarese, Caterina Primi, Maria Anna Donati, La peer education è efficace per la prevenzione dei comportamenti di addiction in adolescenti e giovani adulti? Una rassegna sistematica in "PSICOLOGIA DELLA SALUTE" 1/2022, pp 61-90, DOI: 10.3280/PDS2022-001005