The impact of a Youth Alcohol Forum: What changes for the participants?

Richard Midford, N McBride, Fiona Farringdon, Jillian Woolmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A Youth Alcohol Forum was conducted in Perth, Western Australia, to provide the opportunity for students to learn about alcohol harm and to develop methods for reducing such harm in their community. Seventy-five Year 10 students, from 10 high schools in Perth, participated in the forum. The event consisted of a three day, peer-led residential programme where students could talk about alcohol use and harm in a non-judgemental setting and in turn access information that was of immediate practical use in minimising harms related to their own and others' use of alcohol. After the forum, project groups continued to work together to implement their community action plans. The participating students were surveyed immediately prior to the forum on their consumption patterns, their knowledge of alcohol and related harms and their attitude to alcohol issues pertinent to their age group. They were surveyed again at the conclusion of the forum on knowledge and attitudes and once again, comprehensively, six months later. Their consumption patterns were compared with the National Drug Household Survey sample of 14–19 year olds (AGB McNair, 1995; Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services, 1996). Participants' knowledge and attitudes changed significantly during the course of the forum and this change was substantially preserved six months later. There was also some indication that participants did not progress to more risky consumption patterns as would be expected of young people their age. Participants knew more about alcohol and held attitudes about alcohol related issues that were more knowledge based, when followed up six months subsequent to their participation in the forum. In this regard the forum seems to have been both useful and influential for the participants. Achieving sustained change in knowledge and attitude with a brief, intense intervention, albeit with follow up, suggests that such forums can be important components in school drug education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-70
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Health Promotion and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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