Engaging youth for prevention programming and research
Engaging youth in the community is an important part of any substance use prevention or research effort, but different programs may have different levels or methods of encouraging youth participation. In this paper, the authors reviewed the literature on youth participation to develop and share a comprehensive understanding of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) to better inform prevention professionals on effective ways to engage youth in prevention efforts. They found that youth participation in both research and prevention programs increased community awareness of substance use and related solutions. They also identified weaknesses in youth engagement, including inconsistent levels throughout the process, a lack of formal agreements between youth and staff, and a lack of outcome evaluation measures for assessing YPAR. The article “Youth participatory action research for youth substance use prevention: A systematic review” was funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. It was published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse.