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Promising Program Seal


Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A delivery system that attempts to foster implementation of evidence-based youth and family interventions, complete with ongoing needs assessments, monitoring of implementation quality and partnership functions, and evaluation of intervention outcomes.

Program Outcomes

  • Alcohol
  • Close Relationships with Parents
  • Conduct Problems
  • Delinquency and Criminal Behavior
  • Illicit Drug Use
  • Tobacco

Program Type

  • Parent Training
  • School - Individual Strategies

Program Setting

  • Community (e.g., religious, recreation)
  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Universal Prevention (Entire Population)


  • Early Adolescence (12-14) - Middle School


  • Male and Female


  • All Race/Ethnicity


  • Blueprints: Promising

Program Developer/Owner

  • Richard Spoth
  • Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute, Iowa State University

Brief Description of the Program

PROSPER (Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) is a practitioner-scientist partnership model that evolved out of a series of partnership-based prevention projects grounded in the Land Grant University-based Extension system and the elementary/secondary public school system. As a delivery system rather than substantive program, PROSPER attempts to foster implementation of evidence-based youth and family interventions, complete with ongoing needs assessments, monitoring of implementation quality and partnership functions, and evaluation of intervention outcomes. The program is best characterized by a school, community, and university partnership. The partnership includes (1) state-level university researchers and Extension-based program directors, (2) a prevention coordinator team typically based in the Cooperative Extension System (CES), and (3) local community strategic teams, consisting of a Cooperative Extension System team leader, a representative from the public elementary/secondary school systems who serves as a co-leader, representatives of local human service agencies and other relevant service providers, and other community stakeholders, such as youths and parents. As PROSPER teams develop, they should involve other stakeholders who can positively influence program recruitment, program implementation, and sustainability (such as individuals from various church groups, parent groups, businesses, law enforcement agencies, and/or the media). The local strategic teams receive technical support from the university-level and CES prevention coordinator team members, who attend the local team meetings. This technical assistance is proactive, meaning contact is made with local team members frequently (weekly or biweekly) in order to actively engage in collaborative problem solving.

Once formed, the local team is tasked to select evidenced-based, universal-level family-focused and school-based programs to implement with middle school youth and their families in the local school district.

See: Full Description


Outcomes reported here reflect significance at the .05 level for a two-tailed test.

(Spoth et al., 2007):

  • Significantly lower rates of lifetime use of gateway drugs and illicit drugs for PROSPER youth, relative to controls, and these effects were stronger amongst youth who had already initiated use of gateway drugs at baseline.
  • PROSPER youth were significantly less likely than controls to initiate use of marijuana, inhalants, methamphetamines, and ecstasy.
  • Compared to controls, PROSPER youth had significantly lower rates of marijuana and inhalant use in the past year.

The following substance use outcomes significantly improved at 3-year follow-up (10th grade) or over time from the baseline to the 3-year follow-up (Spoth et al., 2011):

  • Initiation into drunkenness and cigarettes (over time) and into marijuana, inhalant, methamphetamine, and ecstasy (3-year; over time)
  • Gateway Substance Initiation Index (over time)
  • Illicit Substance Use Index (3-year; over time)
  • Past-month alcohol use and cigarette use (over time)
  • Past-year drunkenness (over time) and marijuana use and methamphetamine use (3-year; over time)

The following substance use outcomes significantly improved at the 4-year follow-up (11th grade), 5-year follow-up (12th grade), or over time from the baseline to the 5-year follow-up (Spoth, Redmond et al., 2013):

  • Lifetime illicit substance use (4-year follow-up; 5-year follow-up; over time)
  • Past-year marijuana (4-year follow-up)
  • Past-year methamphetamine (4-year follow-up; 5-year follow-up; over time)
  • Frequency of marijuana (4-year follow-up; 5-year follow-up; over time)

Compared to the control group, intervention participants significantly improved on these 5-year follow-up outcomes (Spoth, Trudeau et al., 2013):

  • lifetime prescription opioid misuse
  • lifetime prescription drug misuse

The intervention group improved on the following outcome at each of the five follow-ups (1-year, 2-year, 3-year, 4-year, and 5-year; Spoth et al., 2015):

  • Conduct problem behavior index (scale included items such as stealing, truancy, aggression)

The following protective factors showed significant improvement at posttest, the 1-year, or 2-year follow-up (Redmond et al., 2009):

  • Child-to-father affective quality, substance refusal intentions, attitude toward substance use, and assertiveness at posttest
  • Child monitoring, inductive reasoning, overall parent-child affective quality, and mother-to-child affective quality at 1-year follow-up
  • General child management, harsh discipline, child-to-mother affective quality, parent-child activities, and family environment at posttest and 1-year follow-up
  • Substance use expectancies, problem solving, and association with antisocial peers at posttest, 1-year follow-up, and 2-year follow-up

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Individual: Favorable attitudes towards drug use*
  • Peer: Interaction with antisocial peers*, Peer rewards for antisocial behavior
  • Family: Poor family management*
Protective Factors
  • Individual: Perceived risk of drug use*, Prosocial involvement, Refusal skills
  • Peer: Interaction with prosocial peers*
  • Family: Attachment to parents*, Opportunities for prosocial involvement with parents*, Parent social support*

*Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program.

See also: PROSPER Logic Model (PDF)

Training and Technical Assistance

There are three segments of training that are introduced over time as teams organize and become focused on program selection and implementation.

  • Unit 1 (in Year 1) focuses on initial organization and participants’ roles as teams are formed and learn about the PROSPER Model. This two-day training also includes time with the state team to help them develop a long-term plan for full model implementation over the next 2-3 years. This two-day training costs $5,500 (including handbooks at $150/person), plus travel expenses for one trainer.
  • Unit 2 (in Year 1) builds on the first training and teaches participants about selecting and implementing a family-focused program. This 1-day event explains the program options and helps team members identify the program that will best meet the needs of their community. It also allows time for teams to develop an implementation timeline and plan. This training costs $4,000 (including handbooks at $100/person), plus travel.
  • Unit 3 (in Year 2) is similar to Unit 2 in time and cost but focuses on the selection and implementation of the school-based program. Since the program to be used in the school is primarily the decision of the school involved, the remainder of the workshop time is spent on team development, including sustainability planning.

Training Certification Process

Currently, there is no train the trainers’ model. However, the PROSPER Network will work with states to bring new staff on-board without going through the three units in a formal setting. For example, once a state has begun implementing the model and established the required infrastructure, the State Coordinator can work with Network staff (virtually) to train new sites.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

PROSPER researchers recruited 28 school districts from Iowa and Pennsylvania to participate in a cohort sequential design in which schools were randomized to treatment groups. There were 14 schools in both the treatment and control conditions. Six thousand ninety-one sixth graders completed pretest in the treatment group and 5,931 completed pretest in the control group. The family-focused intervention was delivered in the 6th grade year, while the school-based intervention was delivered in the seventh grade year. Assessments were conducted at the end of both 6th and 7th grades. Analysis primarily relied on self-reports of substance use. The interventions were conducted during a 1.5-year period. The posttest (the third wave of data collected) was conducted in 7th grade, and follow-ups were administered at 1 year (8th grade, or 2.5 years after baseline), and each year after that, up to the 5-year follow-up (12th grade or 6.5 years after baseline).


Osgood, D. W., Feinberg, M. E., Gest, S. D., Moody, J., Ragan, D. T., Spoth, R., ... Redmond, C. (2013). Effects of PROSPER on the influence potential of prosocial versus antisocial youth in adolescent friendship networks. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53, 174-179.

Redmond, C., Spoth, R. L., Shin, C., Schainker, L. M., Greenberg, M. T., & Feinberg, M. (2009). Long-term protective factor outcomes of evidence-based interventions implemented by community teams through a community-university partnership. Journal of Primary Prevention, 30, 513-530.

Spoth, R. L. & Greenberg, M. T. (2005). Toward a comprehensive strategy for effective practitioner-scientist partnerships and larger-scale community health and well-being. American Journal of Community Psychology, 35(3/4), 107-126.

Spoth, R. L., Trudeau, L. S., Redmond, C. R., Shin, C., Greenberg, M. T., Feinberg, M. E., & Hyun, G. (2015). PROSPER partnership delivery system: Effects on adolescent conduct problem behavior outcomes through 6.5 years past baseline. Journal of Adolescence, 45, 44-55.

Spoth, R., Redmond, C., Clair, S., Shin, C., Greenberg, M., & Feinberg, M. (2011). Preventing substance misuse through community-university partnerships: Randomized controlled trial outcomes 4½ years past baseline. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 40(4), 440-447.

Spoth, R., Redmond, C., Shin, C., Greenberg, M., Clair, S., & Feinberg, M. (2007). Substance-use outcomes at 18 months past baseline: The PROSPER community-university partnership trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 32(5), 395-402.

Spoth, R., Redmond, C., Shin, C., Greenberg, M., Feinberg, M., & Schainker, L. (2013). PROSPER community-university partnership delivery system effects on substance misuse through 6½ years past baseline from a cluster randomized controlled intervention trial. Preventive Medicine, 56, 190-196.

Spoth, R., Trudeau, L., Shin, C., Ralston, E., Redmond, C., Greenberg, M., & Feinberg, M. (2013). Longitudinal effects of universal preventive intervention on prescription drug misuse: Three randomized controlled trials with late adolescents and young adults. American Journal of Public Health, 103(4), 665-672.