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New Substance Use Prevention Program Being Developed

ual feedback on progress in future interactions.

"School-based smoking prevention programs are typically identical for all students. We've found that tailoring prevention materials to focus on individual needs with an emphasis on students at highest risk is a promising alternative," said Velicer of Peace Dale, who has pioneered the application of computer-based intervention to health promotion and disease prevention. "Instead of inundating kids with anti-smoking or drinking lectures and films, our expert system will reach out to students individually and based on their profile provide information to help prevent them from adopting high-risk behaviors."

"This highly competitive research award is a strong vote of confidence by the federal government in the behavior change-related work underway here. It is a classic example of the public benefits directly realized from the research and outreach of a State's robust research university," said Peter Alfonso, vice provost for research, graduate studies and outreach.

In previous studies conducted by the URI Cancer Prevention Research Center, computer-based technology for health behavior research has been demonstrated to be effective with high school students. The expert system approach provides an opportunity for users to receive individually tailored, stage-based information to track and help prevent high-risk health behaviors. The use of computer-based expert systems recognize that health behaviors vary -widely by individuals and demonstrates to users that a 'one size fits all' approach doesn't always work for health.

According to national studies, school-based prevention programs generally have had limited success. Velicer said that most of the approaches taken lack individualized attention.

The University's high school programs used an innovative, interactive computer program as the primary means of intervention with the students. At a laptop computer
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