Etiological Theories and the Primary Prevention of Drug Use Academic Article uri icon


  • Since the early 1980s, the social influence model has dominated the field of primary prevention research. Social influence programs generally take the form of standardized curricula, aimed at all members of broadly defined target populations. Evaluative research has employed a fundamentally inductive methodology, the goal of which is to generate successive 'confirming instances' of program effectiveness among these broad populations. As a result, prevention research has largely stagnated, and has not availed itself of recent findings from basic research such as those reported in this issue. This research tells us that the relationship between peer group affiliation and drug use is reciprocal and not unidirectional us assumed in most social influence programs, that the scope of intervention efforts must be broadened because the processes involved in the initiation of drug use are far more complex than suggested by the theories on which current prevention efforts are based, and that programs should be targeted rather than universal as some individuals are at greater risk of developing a problem with drugs than others.

author list (cited authors)

  • Gorman, D. M.

citation count

  • 15

publication date

  • April 1996