Youth Message Development (YMD)

About This Program

Target Population: Adolescents 12-17 years old

For children/adolescents ages: 12 – 17

Program Overview

Youth Message Development (YMD) is a 4-lesson, face-to-face delivered curriculum to prevent adolescent substance use among 12- to 17-year-olds. The youth are shown the strategies that alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) companies use to attract young people to use their products. They also discuss the statements used by these companies and the anti-substance-use organizations. The curriculum content is grounded in media literacy and social-cognitive theories and guided by experiential-learning principles. The activities are designed to be engaging and encourage collaborations and discussions among participants. The curriculum incorporates ads for generating discussion and analysis, activities to increase involvement, and small-group structure to facilitate learning from peers.

Program Goals

The goals of Youth Message Development (YMD) are:

  • Increase student knowledge of advertising techniques used to sell alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) products
  • Develop student counter-arguing and critical-thinking skills in response to ATOD messages
  • Assist students in actively applying these skills and techniques to create youth-driven, anti-substance-use messages

Essential Components

The essential components of Youth Message Development (YMD) include:

  • Youth Message Development (YMD) consists of four lessons that can be implemented in a classroom, in afterschool care, or other youth service context. YMD focuses on the following topics:
    • LESSON-1: Media reach and persuasion strategies used by advertisers to sell ATOD products
    • LESSON-2: Claims used in ATOD messages and counterarguments used in anti-ATOD messages
    • LESSON-3: Production techniques used by advertisers including setting, colors, font size, and object placement
    • LESSON-4: The active application of content learned in lessons 1-3 to the development of a poster that includes an anti-substance-use message
  • The lessons can be implemented flexibly; the four lessons can be taught in:
    • One 90-minute session
    • Separated across four 20- to-25-minute sessions
    • Two 45-minute lessons
  • Lessons can be taught to groups of up to 30 students.
  • Additional youth involvement and application can be encouraged by including optional activities.
  • The program includes:
    • Teacher’s Guide with all four lessons
    • Student handouts
    • PowerPoint presentation

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Youth Message Development (YMD) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 years of age that may or may not be tempted to try alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Recommended Intensity:

The four lessons can be implemented flexibly. The four lessons can be taught in one 90-minute session; separated across four 20- to-25-minute sessions; or two 45-minute lessons.

Recommended Duration:

Flexible – one to four weeks depending on length of session and time between sessions

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Agency
  • School

Homework

This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Computer, projector, 1 teacher, space for students

Education and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

No minimum qualifications.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program , and there is training available for this program.

REAL Prevention, Greene, K., Banerjee, S., & Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. (2017). Youth Message Development. Clifton, NJ: REAL Prevention

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

Training is optional, but available through REAL Prevention (www.real-prevention.com). Trainers come to your location (onsite). Optionally, there is a video conference-based training available for 1-2 participants.

Number of days/hours:

1-day training is typical; 2-day is available.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Banerjee, S. C., & Greene, K. (2006). Analysis versus production: Adolescent cognitive and attitudinal responses to anti-smoking interventions. Journal of Communication, 56, 773-794. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.2006.00319.x

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 260

Population:

  • Age — 11-16 years (Mean=12.49 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — 74% Hispanic and 13% African American
  • Gender — 156 Female and 104 Male
  • Status — Participants were junior high students (6th, 7th, and 8th grade).

Location/Institution: Two Northeastern U.S. schools

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study explored the efficacy of Youth Message Development to help adolescents to refrain from smoking initiation. Classes (6th, 7th, and 8th grades in two different schools) were randomly assigned to experimental group E1 (analysis workshop), experimental group E2 (production workshop [now called Youth Message Development]), or a control group. Measures utilized include the questionnaires regarding attitude towards smoking, attention to workshop, workshop comprehension and recall and workshop perception. Results showed an overall support for the production workshop (E2) in eliciting more attention and positive workshop perceptions than the analysis workshop. The production workshop (E2) was also successful in reducing positive attitudes towards smoking over time. Limitations include sampling biases, generalizability due to ethnicity of sample, lack of standardized measures, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Banerjee, S. C., & Greene, K. (2007). Anti-smoking initiatives: Effects of analysis versus production media literacy interventions on smoking-related attitude, norm, and behavioral intention. Health Communication, 22, 37-48. doi:10.1080/10410230701310281

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial (secondary data analysis)
Number of Participants: 260

Population:

  • Age — 11-16 years (Mean=12.49 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — 74% Hispanic and 13% African American
  • Gender — 156 Female and 104 Male
  • Status — Participants were junior high students (6th, 7th, and 8th Grade.)

Location/Institution: Two Northeastern U.S. Schools.

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study utilizes participants from Banerjee & Greene (2006). This study explored the efficacy of Youth Message Development to help adolescents to refrain from smoking initiation. Classes (6th, 7th, and 8th grades in two different schools) were randomly assigned to experimental group E1 (analysis workshop), experimental group E2 (production workshop [now called Youth Message Development]), or a control group. Measures utilized include the questionnaires regarding behavioral intention to smoke, attitude toward smoking, and subjective norm. Results indicate the production workshop (E2) was generally more successful than the analysis workshop (E1) and control group in changing participants’ behavioral intention to smoke and attitude toward smoking but not subjective norms over time. Limitations include sampling biases, generalizability due to ethnicity of sample, lack of standardized measures, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Banerjee, S. C., Greene, K., Magsamen-Conrad, K., Elek, E., & Hecht, M. L. (2015). Interpersonal communication outcomes of a media literacy alcohol prevention curriculum. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 5, 425-432. doi:10.1007/s13142-015-0329-9

Type of Study: One group pretest-posttest study
Number of Participants: 171

Population:

  • Age — 14-17 years (Mean=15.75 years)
  • Race/Ethnicity — 70% White, 10% Asian/Asian American, 10% Hispanic/Latino, 4% American Indian/Alaskan Native, 3% African American/Black, and 3% Other
  • Gender — 102 Female and 59 Male
  • Status — Participants were 10th grade high school students.

Location/Institution: 34 schools across Pennsylvania

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This project examined interpersonal communication after participation in two versions (analysis plus analysis and analysis plus planning) of the Youth Message Development (YMD) intervention targeted at preventing high school student alcohol use. Results indicate 68% participants replied affirmatively to interpersonal communication about the YMD intervention. Measures utilized include questionnaires about frequency of communication targets, frequency of communication content, frequency of critical thinking about advertising and confidence to counter-argue with the claims underlying advertisements. Limitations include posters may not represent what adolescents from other states or different age groups might create, time and resource constraints on planning and producing the posters may have compromised the quality and content to a lesser extent because the content was the focus of the initial planning, lack of standardized measures, and length of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3-4 months.

Additional References

Banerjee, S. C., & Greene, K. (2016). Substance abuse prevention message generation and engaging adolescents in health message planning and/or production of health promotion messages. In J. F. Nussbaum (Ed.), Oxford research encyclopedia of communication. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.197

Greene, K., & Banerjee, S. C. (2013). Reducing smoking disparities for Hispanic adolescents: Empowerment through media literacy. In G. Kreps & M. Dutta (Eds.), Reducing health disparities: Communication interventions (pp. 278-296). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

Greene, K., Banerjee, S. C., Ray, A. E., & Hecht, M. L. (2017). Active involvement interventions in health and risk messaging. In R. L. Parrott (Ed.), Oxford encyclopedia of health and risk message design and processing (pp. 1-36). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.527

Contact Information

Michelle Miller-Day, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: REAL Prevention
Website: real-prevention.com/youth-message-development-program
Email:
Phone: (844) 255-7325 x2

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: May 2019

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: August 2019

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: August 2019