Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work

First Advisor's Name

Eric Wagner

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mark Macgowan

Third Advisor's Name

Mario de la Rosa

Fourth Advisor's Name

Maureen Kenny


implementation, substance use, prevention program, elementary schools

Date of Defense



Prevention scientists have called for more research on the factors affecting the implementation of substance use prevention programs. Given the lack of literature in this area, coupled with evidence that children as early as elementary school engage in substance use, the purpose of this study was to identify the factors that influence the implementation of substance use prevention programs in elementary schools. This study involved a mixed methods approach comprised of a survey and in-person interviews. Sixty-five guidance counselors and teachers completed the survey, and 9 guidance counselors who completed the survey were interviewed individually. Correlation analyses and hierarchical multiple regression were conducted. Quantitative findings revealed ease of implementation most frequently influenced program implementation, followed by beliefs about the program’s effectiveness. Qualitative findings showed curriculum modification as an important theme, as well as difficulty of program implementation. The in-person interviews also shed light on three interrelated themes influencing program implementation – The Wheel, time, and scheduling. Results indicate the majority of program providers modified the curriculum in some way. Implications for research, policy, and practice are discussed, and areas for future research are suggested.





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