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Program Profile: Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol

Evidence Rating: No Effects - One study No Effects - One study

Date: This profile was posted on August 17, 2012

Program Summary

A community organizing program designed to reduce youth access to alcohol by changing community and law enforcement policies, attitudes, and practices, and by targeting commercial and noncommercial availability of alcohol to underage drinkers. The program is rated No Effects. The evaluation found no significant impact on youth alcohol use, alcohol sales, or access to alcohol between the treatment and control groups.

Program Description

Program Goals
Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA) is a community organizing program designed to reduce youth access to alcohol by changing community and law enforcement policies, attitudes, and practices. The program, which was initiated in 1991, aims to decrease the number of outlets that sell alcohol to youth, lessen the availability of alcohol from noncommercial sources (such as peers or adults), and reduce the community’s tolerance for underage drinking. The ultimate goal of CMCA is to prevent and reduce youth alcohol use.

Target Population and Target Sites
Although CMCA specifically targets youth in the community to prevent underage drinking, the program also targets all community members to raise awareness of underage drinking. Part of the intervention involves specific targeting of certain sites within a community, including commercial premises of on-sale (e.g., bar, restaurant) and off-sale (e.g., liquor store, convenience store) alcohol vendors. These sites are targeted to limit the availability of alcohol to underage, potential buyers.

Program Activities
CMCA employs a range of social organizing techniques addressing legal, institutional, social, and health issues to reduce youth alcohol use by eliminating illegal alcohol sales and obstructing adult provision of alcohol to youth. The organizing process includes:

  1. Assessing the community
  2. Creating a core leadership group
  3. Developing a plan of action
  4. Building a mass base of support
  5. Implementing the action plan
  6. Maintaining the organization and institutionalizing change
  7. Evaluating changes
Program Theory
CMCA draws on the social influences model based in the community that concentrates on resistance skills within youth and widespread organization to stop underage drinking in the community. The program combines the principles of this model and organized efforts with a focus on supply reduction to limit access of alcohol among underage drinkers.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Youth Alcohol Use

Wagenaar and colleagues (2000) found the Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA) had no significant impact on drinking behavior of 18- to 20-year-olds and 12th-grade students at either the treatment or control sites. This outcome was assessed using four different measures: past month drinking prevalence, binge drinking prevalence, number of drinks on last occasion, and past month number of drinking occasions. None of these measures showed significant program effects.

Alcohol Sales
There were no significant differences between the treatment and control groups in observed behavior of on-sale and off-sale alcohol merchants in ID checking or buy rates. Additionally, there were no significant differences in alcohol merchants’ responses in the self-reported perceptions and behaviors survey between treatment and control groups.

Access to Alcohol
A significantly lower percentage of 18- to 20-year-olds provided alcohol to youth in the treatment sites compared to the control sites. However, there were no other significant differences on the self-reported measures of attempting to purchase alcohol, the last drinking occasion being in a bar, or difficulty getting alcohol from outlets. There were also no significant differences between the treatment and control groups on any access to alcohol measures for 12th-grade students.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA) was evaluated by Wagenaar and colleagues (2000) in a fully randomized 5-year research trial across 15 geographically and socially distinct communities located in the upper Midwestern region. Seven communities were randomized to the treatment condition and eight served as control sites. During the program’s first phase at the treatment sites, organizers completed 1,518 interviews with local leaders and citizens to build relationships, better understand the community by reviewing local enforcement and policies, and search for potential recruits for the core of community organizing activities. During the second phase, a strategy team of core local leaders worked with organizers to gain widespread support, including media attention. The final implementation phase involved establishing policy changes within the community, media, law enforcement, local businesses, alcohol vendors, and religious organizations as directed in the plans customized for each treatment site.

There were two primary outcome measures of interest: 1) access to alcohol from commercial and social sources; and 2) drinking behaviors. Data was collected at baseline (1992) before the random assignment of communities to the intervention or control condition, and again at follow-up after a 2 ½-year intervention period (1995). Data collection included in-school surveys of 9th graders (n=5,885) and 12th graders (n=4,506); telephone surveys of 18- to 20-year-olds (n=3,095) and alcohol merchants (including direct testing of the likelihood of alcohol sales to youth at on-sale and off-sale establishments [using 21-year-old college students who appeared younger and attempted purchases]); and monitoring changes in relevant practices of community institutions.

Analyses were based on mixed-model regression and multiple time-series design, and used the community as the unit of assignment. Analyses also accounted for the nesting of individual respondents or alcohol outlets within each community, and controlled for relevant covariates.
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Cost

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Wagenaar, Alexander C., David M. Murray, John P. Gehan, Mark Wolfson, Jean L. Forster, Traci L. Toomey, Cheryl L. Perry, and Rhonda Jones–Webb. 2000. “Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol: Outcomes From a Randomized Community Trial.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol 61:85–94.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Wagenaar, Alexander C., David M. Murray, and Traci L. Toomey. 2000. “Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA): Effects of a Randomized Trial on Arrests and Traffic Crashes.” Addiction 95(2):209–17. (This study was reviewed but did not meet CrimeSolutions.gov criteria for inclusion in the overall program rating.)

Wagenaar, Alexander C., John P. Gehan, Rhonda Jones–Webb, Traci L. Toomey, Jean L. Forster, Mark Wolfson, and David M. Murray. 1999. “Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol: Lessons and Results From a 15-Community Randomized Trial.” Journal of Community Psychology 27(3):315–26.

Wagenaar, Alexander C., and Cheryl L. Perry. 1994. “Community Strategies for the Reduction of Youth Drinking: Theory and Application.” Journal of Research on Adolescence 4(2):319–45.

Wagenaar, Alexander C., David M. Murray, Mark Wolfson, Jean L. Forster, and John R. Finnegan. 1994. “Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol: Design of a Randomized Community Trial.” Journal of Community Psychology 22(CSAP Special Issue):79–101.
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Program Snapshot

Age: 15 - 20

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: White

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting

Program Type: Community Awareness/Mobilization, Alcohol and Drug Prevention

Current Program Status: Not Active

Listed by Other Directories: National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices