This research project involved the development and evaluation of a media literacy education and media advocacy program called Media World for high school students with the goal of reducing their intent to use and current use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
The program was designed for use in a range of educational settings including public and private high schools, and juvenile justice, after school, faith-based, and community-based programs. Three methods were used to gather feedback for the early development process including: 1) high school students participated in three focus groups, 2) three media literacy and education experts provided a written critique, and 3) a public high school teacher piloted lessons in each of her three 9th grade health classes. These groups provided feedback about the format, goals, and content of the curriculum, as well as the feasibility of implementing the program. Consumer satisfaction ratings from the teenage focus group participants, expert reviewers, and the pilot teacher were extremely positive suggesting that the program prototype was promising, and ready for further development, completion, and evaluation.
One goal of the research was to test changes in normative beliefs about substances as a mediator of the impact of the program on substance use intentions in adolescents. Because media influence is a powerful socialization agent, media literacy education is believed to be an important strategy to use for designing a comprehensive approach to substance abuse prevention.