Led by Bristol University Medical School in collaboration with partner institutions and researchers including James White, Cardiff University
Risk behaviours, such as smoking and drug use, can group together during the teenage years – leading to health problems and diseases later in life.
Currently, we do not know which interventions are effective in preventing multiple risk behaviours among children and young people.
A Cochrane systematic review, led by Bristol University Medical School in collaboration with partner institutions including DECIPHer – Centre for Trials Research (Cardiff University), analysed existing studies which had evaluated ways of preventing or decreasing engagement in two or more risk behaviours among young people aged 8 to 25 years.
In total, 70 studies were eligible for inclusion in this review. On average, the studies examined the effects of interventions on four behaviours, most commonly alcohol, tobacco use, drug use, and antisocial behaviour. Researchers divided the studies into three groups: individual‐level, family‐level, and school‐level studies.
The team’s findings suggest that universal school‐based interventions, offered to all children, were the most effective way of preventing multiple risk behaviours, such as tobacco use, alcohol use, illicit drug use, and antisocial behaviour, as well as physical activity among young people. Researchers did not find strong evidence of the benefit of interventions delivered to families or individuals.
The research team identified the need for more consistent reporting and the need for a better quality robust evidence base in this field.
This review is an important step towards understanding multiple risk behaviours in young people and has provided a baseline further work on the design of similar interventions in this area.
Read the full research publication here: https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009927.pub2/full