PROSPER Provides Successful Evidence-based Community Interventions

The quality of evidence-based interventions (EBIs) is directly related to the overall success of the community programs. “First, low-implementation quality is associated with poorer EBI outcomes,” said Richard Spoth of the Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute at Iowa State University, and lead author of a new study examining the effectiveness of EBIs. “Second, the quality of EBI implementation tends to drift over time. That is, the longer service providers are implementing a given EBI with successive cohorts of youth, the more likely the implementation is to drift to lower quality levels, absent quality controls.” Community EBIs rely on many factors to be successful. “Thus, it is critically important to examine the ability of community-based efforts to sustain quality implementation of EBIs with successive cohorts of youth, particularly with community-based teams,” said Spoth.

PROSPER (PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) is an innovative model for EBIs. “The general purpose of this delivery system is to reduce the prevalence of youth problem behaviors, enhance positive youth development, and strengthen families.” Spoth added, “It is designed to provide ongoing, proactive technical assistance to assure that EBIs provided for youth and their parents are implemented properly, are supported in the community, and can be sustained over time.”

Spoth assessed several community EBIs after they implemented PROSPER and was impressed with the results. “Average adherence ratings approached 90% for both the family-focused and school-based interventions, a high level of quality that was sustained across as many as six implementation cohorts,” he said. “Consistent with the sustained adherence ratings, other indicators of implementation quality also showed consistently positive results. Specifically, measures of participation by attending families and adolescents remained quite high throughout the observed period, as did measures of facilitator quality.” He believes the results from his study are due in large part to one of the primary goals of PROSPER, that of continuing to provide high quality services to communities over the long-term. Spoth added, “The results of this study encourage further deployment of intervention delivery systems such as PROSPER as a means of conducting large scale preventive interventions in general populations.”

Spoth, Richard, Max Guyll, Cleve Redmond, Mark Greenberg, and Mark Feinberg. “Six-Year Sustainability of Evidence-Based Intervention Implementation Quality by Community-University Partnerships: The PROSPER Study.” American Journal of Community Psychology 48.5 (2011): 412-25. Print.

© Copyright 2011 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Jajuan


    December 17th, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    I think that you will find numerous instances of communities getting involved with the lives of their youth and experiencing a major turn around in their behavior and the outcomes. When the people of a community check out on their youth then it is inevitable that the community will crumble. Schools will no longer prosper and the crime rates will go up. Getting everyone involved in the raising of our kids in the right way is the only way to ensure the continuing success of society. This is not something that one person can do alone. Indeed it takes a village.

  • Amelia


    December 17th, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    I would like to say that while I think that in theory this works, the problems arise when you also discover that many of the adults in these communities have given up on themselves already; therefore how can they then be expected to help the kids when they have nothing left to give?

    You kind of have to look at some of the roots of the problems first in many of these homes and see that this is something that did not start in one day and will not be fixed in that length of time either.

    This has to be a program that is a long term commitment to not only raise up the kids but to elevate the members of the community as a whole. And to do that you have to know that you will be in it for the long haul.

  • georgia


    December 18th, 2011 at 4:35 AM

    a community based approach is bound to give better results.there is just this feeling of ‘together we can’ that’s just so overwhelming it can help us achieve a lot!

  • Sloane


    December 18th, 2011 at 6:28 AM

    You have to get into the schools to get these programs started and started successfully. The teachers and the parents and the kids all working together is the key to making good things happen.

  • Nurse Sgannon

    Nurse Sgannon

    December 19th, 2011 at 6:05 AM

    These things are all well and good when they start out but then the money dries up and what happens? People start losing interest and the circle of violence and non performance begins again. This is something that has to transcend all of that. You have to give society a reason to want to get better, and then, no matter what happens to the money they are going to care and continue on with doing the things that we all need to do so that no one gets left out or behind.

  • G.Adams


    December 19th, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    We don’t really have the kind of willingness to do this sort of a thing collectively. People today do not have time to monitor their own children and their activities. How will this be a success?

  • BrendaC


    December 20th, 2011 at 5:41 AM

    Some communities in town have been so run down for so long that those who once may have cared have long since fled the area. That is a time when it becomes even more difficult to right things again. Who is going to go in there and care about the area and the young people who live there unless it is someone who really has a vested interest in it? If they don’t then it feels like someone is pulling the strings from the outside and there are very few who will appreciate that.

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