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Many programmes attempt to teach young people the skills to withstand pressures from others. Thus, measures of assertiveness are appropriate in deciding if such measures have been effective. Please bear in mind that in the Assertiveness instruments a low score means a high level of assertiveness.
Relevant Studies
Dealing with peer pressure and establishing conservative norms
Hansen, W.B., & Graham J.W. (1991). Preventing alcohol, marijuana, and cigarette use among adolescents: Peer pressure versus establishing conservative norms. Preventive Medicine, 20, 414-430.

Two strategies for preventing the onset of drug abuse were tested in junior high schools. The first strategy taught skills to refuse offers while the second strategy involved the correction of wrong impressions about prevalence and acceptability of use among peers and established conservative norms of use. There were significant effects for both legal and illegal drugs for the strategy involving establishment of conservative norms, while teaching students to refuse offers had no discernible effects on substance use behaviours. Drug use measures were lifetime prevalence and 30 day prevalence.

Self-esteem and the effects of a prevention programme
Morgan, M., Morrow, R., Sheehan, A.M. & Lillis, M. (1996). Prevention of substance misuse: Rationale and effectiveness of the programme 'On My Own Two Feet'. OIDEAS: Journal of the Department of Education (Ireland), 44, 5-26.

This study examined the role of the enhancement of self-esteem and assertiveness in the mediation of the effects of a substance use prevention programme. The programme itself was found to have significant effects on attitudes and beliefs regarding substance use but rather less effects on actual behaviour. An analysis of how these effects were mediated suggests that the enhancement of self-esteem and the learning of assertiveness skills played an important role in the outcomes. However, it was not possible to say that they provided a complete picture of how the effects were brought about.

Measuring coping strategies
Roger, D., Jarvis, G., & Najarian, B. (1993). Detachment and coping: The construction and validation of a new scale for measuring coping strategies. Personality and Individual Differences, 15, 619-626.

This describes the development of a scale that is concerned with coping with threat. The work takes as its point of departure the classification of coping processes in two broad categories having either rational or emotional overtones. A number of instruments have been developed that identify various coping dimensions including the Ways of Coping Questionnaire developed from the ideas of Lazarus in the eighties. The Coping Style Questionnaire identifies four strategies of coping, two of which are adaptive (rational coping and detached coping) and two of which are maladaptive (emotional coping and avoidance coping).


Page last updated: Thursday, 15 July 2004