An Exploration of Practitioners' Perceptions and Beliefs About Trauma-Informed Youth Drug Prevention Programs: a Qualitative Study. Academic Article uri icon


  • Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as childhood maltreatment and household dysfunction, have been linked to adolescent substance use. As a result, there exists a pressing need for trauma-informed, substance use preventive intervention for adolescents with a history of ACEs. The primary aim of this qualitative study is to increase our understanding of practitioners' perceptions of substance use among ACE-exposed youth and their views on trauma-informed adolescent substance use prevention programs. The present study conducted six focus groups (N=32) among current child and adolescent health and human service providers in a mid-Atlantic urban area. The focus groups explored the practitioners' views on the main reasons that youth with a history of ACEs use illicit substances and suggestions on components, constructs, or techniques of trauma-informed substance use prevention programs and perceived barriers in implementing such programs. Transcripts of the focus groups were analyzed using open coding and subsequent axial coding, which was followed by thematic analysis. Thematic analysis identified ten themes within three categories, including the etiology of substance use among ACE-exposed youth, barriers to preventing substance use among ACEs-exposed youth, and suggested program components for trauma-informed prevention programs. These findings provide support for developing a preventive intervention that addresses trauma symptoms and overall skill buildings to prevent substance use among ACE-exposed youth. Teaching skills to cope with trauma symptoms, enhancing knowledge about the signs and symptoms of trauma, and improving key social and emotional learning competencies might be important and effective strategies to curb substance use among ACE-exposed youth.

published proceedings

  • Prev Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Shin, S. H., Bouchard, L. M., & Montemayor, B.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Shin, Sunny H||Bouchard, Leah M||Montemayor, Benjamin

publication date

  • May 2022