Mobilizing Communities to Prevent Adolescent Substance Use and Delinquency

Authored by: Abigail A. Fagan , C. Cory Lowe

Routledge International Handbook of Delinquency and Health

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367256920
eBook ISBN: 9780429289194
Adobe ISBN:


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Prevention scientists have developed a wide array of effective youth substance use and delinquency prevention programs. However, most of these are aimed at individuals and they often target a limited number of factors associated with the onset and escalation of problem behaviors. In contrast, community mobilization strategies tend to address more of the causes of substance use and delinquency, including environmental factors. Mobilization strategies can take a variety of forms, but they often involve a wide range of community stakeholders who work together to coordinate and implement several programs, practices, and environmental changes throughout the community with the goal of achieving population-level reductions in substance use and delinquency. While several such efforts have demonstrated reductions in substance use and delinquency, others have not, and implementation challenges can hinder the impact of community mobilization efforts. This essay provides a brief overview of substance use and delinquency prevention; contrasts the characteristics of effective and ineffective community mobilization strategies; reviews the strengths and challenges of community mobilization; and provides suggestions for scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers interested in mobilization.

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