Improving Prevention Curricula: Lessons Learned Through Formative Research on the Youth Message Development Curriculum

Kathryn Greene, Danielle Catona, Elvira Elek, Kate Magsamen-Conrad, Smita C. Banerjee, Michael L. Hecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This article describes formative research (a pilot study, interviews, and focus groups) conducted as part of a feasibility test of 2 versions (Analysis vs. Planning) of a brief media literacy intervention titled Youth Message Development (YMD). The intervention targets high school student alcohol use with activities to understand persuasion strategies, increase counter-arguing, and then apply these new skills to ad analysis or a more engaging ad poster planning activity. Based on the theory of active involvement (Greene, 2013), the Planning curriculum is proposed to be more effective than the Analysis curriculum. Overall, results of the formative research indicated that students (N = 182) and mentors/teachers (N = 53) perceived the YMD Planning curriculum as more interesting, involving, and novel, and these ratings were associated with increased critical thinking about the impact of advertising, lower alcohol use intentions, and fewer positive expectations about the effects of alcohol use. Qualitative feedback indicated a need to supplement alcohol-focused ad stimuli with ads targeting other advertising images, use incentives and competition-based activities to further enhance student motivation, and provide flexibility to enhance the appropriateness of the curriculum to various settings. These concerns led to the development of a revised curriculum and plans for further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1071-1078
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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