Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program

Note: The Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program was not responsive to the CEBC's inquiry. The following information was obtained from publicly available sources.

About This Program

Target Population: Youth in grades 6-9

For organizations that serve children ages: 11 – 15

Program Overview

The Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program is a substance abuse and violence prevention program for youth in grades 6-9. LifeSkills Training is comprehensive and developmentally designed to promote positive youth development. In addition to helping kids resist drug, alcohol, and tobacco use, the LifeSkills Training Middle School program is also designed to support the reduction of violence and other high-risk behaviors. Each session is 30-45 minutes; sessions can be taught either on an intensive schedule (two to three times a week) until the program is complete, or on a more extended schedule (once a week).

Program Learning Objectives:

  • Personal Self-Management Skills – Students develop skills that help them enhance self-esteem, develop problem-solving abilities, reduce stress and anxiety, and manage anger.
  • General Social Skills – Students gain skills to meet personal challenges such as overcoming shyness, communicating clearly, building relationships, and avoiding violence.
  • Drug Resistance Skills – Students build effective defenses against pressures to use tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.

Education and Training

Education and Training Resources

Publicly available information indicates there is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is some training available for this program.
See contact info below.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

When more than 10 research articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals, the CEBC reviews all of the articles as part of the rating process and identifies the most relevant articles, with a focus on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled studies that have an impact on the rating. The 12 articles chosen for Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program are summarized below:

Botvin, G. J., Renick, N. L., & Baker, E. (1983). The effects of scheduling format and booster sessions on a broad-spectrum psychosocial smoking prevention program. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 6, 359–379. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00846324

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 902

Population:

  • Age — 7th graders (approx. 11-13 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were seventh grade junior high schools students.

Location/Institution: Suburban New York

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The purpose of this study is to determine the efficacy of Life Skills Training (LST) [now known as Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program]. Seven middle schools were randomly assigned to the following conditions: (1) LST Smoking Prevention Program utilizing an integrated weekly scheduling format; (2) LST Smoking Prevention Program utilizing an intensive minicourse scheduling format; and (3) control. Measures included the Teenager's Self Test: Cigarette Smoking Scale, the Assertion Inventory, and questionnaires for self-reported alcohol and marijuana use. Saliva samples were also collected using a variant of the "bogus pipeline" procedure. Results indicated that LST was significantly more effective than the control group in preventing cigarette smoking in seventh graders. Limitations include limited follow-up, inability to determine the extent to which component of the program was most effective in smoking prevention, and the use of self-report measures of behavior change.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 1 year.

Botvin, G. J., Baker, E., Dusenbury, L., Tortu, S., & Botvin, E. M. (1990). Preventing adolescent drug abuse through a multimodal cognitive-behavioral approach: Results of a three-year study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58, 437–446. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.58.4.437

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 4,466

Population:

  • Age — 7th graders (approx. 11-13 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — 91% White, 2% Black, 2% Hispanic, and 1% Native American
  • Gender — 52% Male and 48% Female
  • Status — Participants were from 56 junior high schools.

Location/Institution: 23 schools in eastern New York State, 19 schools from central New York State, and 14 schools from Long Island

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study presents one-year follow-up data from an evaluation study testing the effectiveness of Life Skills Training (LST) [now known as Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program] in middle schools to prevent substance abuse. Schools were assigned to receive (a) LST program with formal provider training and implementation feedback, (b) the LST program with videotaped provider training and no feedback, or (c) no treatment. Measures included the Teenager's Self Test: Cigarette Smoking Scale, the Norwicki-Strickland Locus of Control Scale for Children, and questionnaires for alcohol and marijuana use. Saliva samples were also collected using a variant of the "bogus pipeline" procedure. Results indicate that LST was significantly effective in preventing cigarette smoking, marijuana use, and immoderate alcohol use. Prevention effects were also found for normative expectations and knowledge concerning substance use, interpersonal skills, and communication skills. Limitations include failure of investigators to adequately consider issues related to the fidelity and completeness of program implementation, the absence of a more direct assessment of the skills taught in this prevention program, failure to maintain the unit of assignment/unit of analysis set, and high attrition.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 2 years.

Botvin, G. J., Schinke, S. P., Epstein, J. A., & Diaz, T. (1994). Effectiveness of culturally focused and generic skills training approaches to alcohol and drug abuse prevention among minority youths. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 8(2), 116–127. https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-164X.8.2.116

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 639

Population:

  • Age — Mean=12.7 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 48% African American, 37% Latino, 5% White, 3% Asian, and 8% Other
  • Gender — 50% Male and 50% Female
  • Status — Participants were from 6 inner-city junior high schools that served urban minority students from low-income families.

Location/Institution: New York City public schools

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study tested the effectiveness of Life Skills Training (LST) programs [now known as Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program] among inner-city minority students from 6 New York City public schools. Schools were randomly assigned to receive (a) a generic skills training prevention approach (LST), (b) a culturally focused prevention approach (an adapted version of LST), or (c) an information-only control. Measures included the Teenager's Self Test: Cigarette Smoking Scale, the Assertion Inventory, the Eysenck Risk Taking Scale, and questionnaires for self-reported drinking and illicit drug use. Saliva samples were also collected using a variant of the "bogus pipeline" procedure. The results of this study suggest that the LST and culturally focused approaches have utility for inner-city, minority youths. The students in the prevention programs had significantly higher anti-drinking, anti-marijuana, and anti-cocaine and other drugs attitudes than the control group. Limitations include the inability to demonstrate efficacy on the skills measures (decision making, assertiveness, or life skills) for the life skills training or culturally focused intervention groups compared with the control group, small sample size, inability to determine the relative effectiveness of these prevention strategies for the various ethnic-racial subgroups represented in the sample, and the reliance on self-report data.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Botvin, G. J., Schinke, S. P., Epstein, J. A., Diaz, T., & Botvin, E. M. (1995). Effectiveness of culturally focused and generic skills training approaches to alcohol and drug abuse prevention among minority adolescents: Two-year follow-up results. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 9(3), 183–194. https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-164X.9.3.183

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 456

Population:

  • Age — 9th graders
  • Race/Ethnicity — 49% African American, 37% Latino, 5% White, 3% Asian, and 7% Other
  • Gender — 53% Female and 47% Male
  • Status — Participants were from 6 inner-city junior high schools that served urban minority students from low-income families.

Location/Institution: New York City public schools

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study collected two-year follow-up data from Botvin et al. (1994) to test the effectiveness of Life Skills Training (LST) [now known as Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program]. Schools were randomly assigned to receive (a) a generic skills training prevention approach (LST), (b) a culturally focused prevention approach (an adapted version of LST), or (c) an information-only control. Measures included a questionnaire for self-reported current substance use and behavioral intentions for substance use. Saliva samples were also collected using a variant of the "bogus pipeline" procedure. The results of this study demonstrate that predominantly minority adolescents in both prevention approaches had less current alcohol use and had lower intentions to engage in future alcohol use relative to students in the control group. Limitations include the inability to determine generalizability to other racial-ethnic minority populations, and the decision in this study to focus on two different populations, rather than on a single minority population to facilitate the implementation of a culturally focused intervention.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 2 years.

Botvin, G. J., Baker, E., Dusenbury, L., Botvin, E. M., & Diaz, T. (1995). Long-term follow-up results of a randomized drug abuse prevention trial in a White middle-class population. JAMA, 273(14), 1106–1112. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.1995.03520380042033

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 3,597

Population:

  • Age — Mean=18.1 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 91% White
  • Gender — 52% Male and 48% Female
  • Status — Participants were from 56 junior high schools.

Location/Institution: Predominantly middle-class suburban and rural schools clustered around Albany and Syracuse in upstate New York and on Long Island in downstate New York

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study presents six-year follow-up data from Botvin et al. (1990), an evaluation study testing the effectiveness of Life Skills Training (LST) [now known as Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program] in middle schools to prevent substance abuse. Schools were assigned to receive (1) LST with a formal 1-day training workshop and implementation feedback by project staff; (2) LST with training provided by videotape and no implementation feedback; and (3) a "treatment as usual" control group. Measures included a questionnaire for self-reported tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use. Results indicate that LST was significantly effective in preventing cigarette smoking, marijuana use, and immoderate alcohol use. Results also indicated that drug abuse prevention programs conducted during junior high school can produce meaningful and durable reductions in tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use if they (1) teach a combination of social resistance skills and general life skills, (2) are properly implemented, and (3) include at least 2 years of booster sessions. Limitations include generalizability, as this study involved predominantly white, middle-class students.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 years.

Botvin, G. J., Griffin, K. W., Diaz, T., & Ifill-Williams, M. (2001a). Drug abuse prevention among minority adolescents: Posttest and one-year follow-up of a school-based preventive intervention. Prevention Science, 2(1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1010025311161

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 3,621

Population:

  • Age — Mean = 12.9 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 61% African American, 22% Hispanic, 6% Asian, 6% White, and 5% Other
  • Gender — 53% Female and 47% Male
  • Status — Participants were economically disadvantaged youth from predominantly low socioeconomic status families.

Location/Institution: 29 middle schools in New York City

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Life Skills Training (LST) [now known as Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program] in a sample of predominantly minority students in 29 New York City schools. LST taught drug refusal skills, antidrug norms, personal self-management skills, and general social skills in an effort to provide students with skills and information for resisting drug offers, to decrease motivations to use drugs, and decrease vulnerability to drug use social influences. Measures included the Teenager’s Self-Test: Cigarette Smoking, the Coping Assessment Battery, the Gambrill and Richey Assertion Inventory, and the Eysenck Personality Inventory. Saliva samples were also collected using a variant of the "bogus pipeline" procedure. Results indicated that those who received the program reported less smoking, drinking, drunkenness, inhalant use, and polydrug use relative to controls. Limitations include that the follow-up is limited to 1 year after the initial posttest, using self-report methods, and generalizability to other minority populations.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 1 year.

Botvin, G. J., Griffin, K. W., Diaz, T., & Ifill-Williams, M. (2001). Preventing binge drinking during early adolescence: One- and two- year follow-up of a school-based preventive intervention. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 15(4), 360–365. https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-164X.15.4.360

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 3,041

Population:

  • Age — 7th-9th grades (approx. 11-15 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — 57% African American, 24% Hispanic, 8% Asian, 3% White, 2% Native American, and 6% Other
  • Gender — 56% Female and 44% Male
  • Status — Participants were economically disadvantaged youth from predominantly low socioeconomic status families.

Location/Institution: 29 middle schools in New York City

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluated the effectiveness of Life Skills Training (LST) [now known as Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program] on reducing binge drinking in a sample of minority and inner-city middle-school students. Measures included the Teenager’s Self-Test: Cigarette Smoking, the Coping Assessment Battery, the Gambrill and Richey Assertion Inventory, and the Eysenck Personality Inventory. Results indicated that a school-based drug abuse prevention approach previously found to be effective among White youth significantly reduced binge drinking among urban minority youth. Moreover, the program also significantly affected proximal drinking variables, including drinking knowledge, prodrinking attitudes, and peer drinking norms. Limitations include reliance on self-report methods and generalizability to other minority populations.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 2 years.

Spoth, R. L., Redmond, C., Trudeau, L., & Shin, C. (2002). Longitudinal substance initiation outcomes for a universal preventive intervention combining family and school programs. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 16, 129–134. https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-164X.16.2.129

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 1,115

Population:

  • Age — 7th grade (approx. 11-13 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — Predominantly White
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were in seventh grade.

Location/Institution: 36 rural schools in 22 contiguous counties in a Midwestern state

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study evaluated the substance initiation effects of Life Skills Training (LST) [now known as Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program], combining family and school-based competency-training intervention components in middle schools. Thirty-six rural schools were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: (a) the classroom-based Life Skills Training (LST) and the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Children 10–14, (b) LST only, or (c) a control condition. Measures included a questionnaire for self-reported alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana use, and several cognitive, attitudinal, and personality variables. Saliva samples were also collected using a variant of the "bogus pipeline" procedure. Results indicated that students who received both the combined and LST-only interventions showed significant effects on substance and marijuana initiation. Limitations include generalizability and using self-report measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 1 year.

Spoth, R., Randall, G. K., Shin, C., & Redmond, C. (2005). Randomized study of combined universal family and school preventive interventions: patterns of long-term effects on initiation, regular use, and weekly drunkenness. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 19(4), 372–381. https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-164X.19.4.372

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 1,109

Population:

  • Age — 7th grade (approx. 11-13 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — Predominantly White
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were in seventh grade.

Location/Institution: 36 rural schools in 22 contiguous counties in a Midwestern state

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study uses the sample from Spoth et al. (2002). This study reports findings on Life Skills Training (LST) [now known as Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program] from an in-school assessment 2.5 years past baseline. Thirty-six rural schools were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: (a) the classroom-based Life Skills Training (LST) and the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Children 10–14, (b) LST only, or (c) a control condition. Measures included the Regular Alcohol Use (RAU). Saliva samples were also collected using a variant of the "bogus pipeline" procedure. Results indicated the earlier significant outcome on a substance initiation index was replicated, and positive point-in-time results for weekly drunkenness were observed, but there were no statistically significant outcomes for regular alcohol use. Limitations include generalizability and using self-reported measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 2 years.

Griffin, K. W., Botvin, G. J., & Nichols, T. R. (2006). Effects of a school-based drug abuse prevention program for adolescents on HIV risk behaviors in young adulthood. Prevention Science, 7, 103–112. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-006-0025-6

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 2,042

Population:

  • Age — 23.8-27.5 years (Mean=24.6 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — 91.2% White
  • Gender — 1080 Females and 962 Males
  • Status — Participants were young adults who participated in Botvin Lifeskills or the control group in 7th through 9th grades.

Location/Institution: Primarily middle-class suburban and rural areas of New York State

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study uses sample from Botvin et al. (1990). It examines six-year follow-up data to (1) investigate the long-term impact of Life Skills Training (LST) [now known as Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program] on drug use and sexual behaviors that put one at elevated risk for HIV infection; and (2) use growth modeling procedures to examine potential mechanisms of intervention effects. A randomized block design was used; schools randomized into one of three conditions: (1) LST with 1-day training workshop for providers, (2) LST with videotaped training, and (3) “treatment as usual” control group. Measures included questionnaires on several demographic variables, substance use behavior, and risky sexual behavior. Results indicate that the intervention had a direct protective effect on HIV risk behavior in the overall sample in young adulthood. Furthermore, among participants receiving 60% or more of the prevention program, analyses showed that the intervention significantly reduced growth in alcohol and marijuana intoxication over the course of adolescence, which in turn was associated with a reduction in later HIV risk behavior. Limitations include a low retention rate of the baseline sample completing the follow-up, not allowing for a detailed event-level analysis of sexual and drug-related risk behaviors due to design of the assessment, using self-report data, not including the full spectrum of behaviors that put one at risk for HIV, and generalizability.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 6 years.

Spoth, R., Trudeau, L., Shin, C., & Redmond, C. (2008a). Long‐term effects of universal preventive interventions on prescription drug misuse. Addiction, 103(7), 1160–1168. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02160.x

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 398

Population:

  • Age — 7th grade (approx. 11-13 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — Predominantly White
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were young adults who participated in Botvin Lifeskills or the control group in 6th through 12th grades.

Location/Institution: Public schools in the Midwest

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study uses sample from Spoth et al. (2002). This study reports supplemental report on tests of the long-term effects of Life Skills Training (LST) [now known as Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program] during middle school on 17–21-year-olds’ prescription drug misuse 5.5 years past baseline. The study design involved two randomized, controlled prevention trials. In study 1, schools were assigned to the Iowa Strengthening Families Program (ISFP), Preparing for the Drug Free Years, or a control condition. In study 2, schools were assigned to a revised ISFP plus LST, LST alone, or a control condition. Measures included a questionnaire for self-reported lifetime and past-year prescription drug misuse. Results indicated that in study 1, ISFP 12th-graders’ past year narcotic misuse was significantly less than controls, as were ISFP 21-year-olds’ life-time narcotic and barbiturate misuse rates. In study 2, LST + SFP 10–14 showed significant effects on life-time prescription drug misuse at the 11th-grade follow-up, while effects at the 12th-grade follow-up were marginally significant. Although the LST-only participants reported less non-prescribed medication use than controls at both the 11th- and 12th grade assessments, results were not significant Limitations include generalizability and using self-report measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 5.5 years.

Spoth, R. L., Randall, G. K., Trudeau, L., Shin, C., & Redmond, C. (2008b). Substance use outcomes 5½ years past baseline for partnership-based, family-school preventive interventions. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 96(1-2), 57–68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.01.023

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 1,677

Population:

  • Age — 7th grade (approx. 11-13 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — Predominantly White (96%)
  • Gender — 53% Male and 47% Female
  • Status — Participants were in seventh grade.

Location/Institution: 36 public schools in the rural Midwest

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study uses sample from Spoth et al. (2002). This study reports adolescent substance use outcomes of Life Skills Training (LST) [now known as Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School Program] 5½ years past baseline. The study design involved two randomized, controlled prevention trials. In study 1, schools were assigned to the Iowa Strengthening Families Program (ISFP), Preparing for the Drug Free Years, or a control condition. In study 2, schools were assigned to a revised ISFP plus LST, LST alone, or a control condition. Measures included the Substance Initiation Index (SII). Results indicated that for all substance initiation outcomes, one or both intervention groups showed significant, positive differences at 12th grade and/or significant growth trajectory outcomes when compared with the control group. Limitations include generalizability and using self-report measures.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 5.5 years.

Additional References

Botvin, G. J., & Griffin, K. W. (2004). Life skills training: Empirical findings and future directions. Journal of Primary Prevention, 25(2), 211–232. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JOPP.0000042391.58573.5b

Mihalic, S. F., Fagan, A. A., & Argamaso, S. (2008). Implementing the LifeSkills Training drug prevention program: Factors related to implementation fidelity. Implementation Science, 3(5). https://doi.org/10.1186/1748-5908-3-5

Contact Information

Agency/Affiliation: Botvin
Website: lifeskillstraining.com/botvin-lifeskills-training-middle-school-program
Email:
Phone: (800) 293-4969

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: February 2019

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: February 2020

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: February 2020