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Program Profile: Teams–Games–Tournaments (TGT) Alcohol Prevention

Evidence Rating: Effective - One study Effective - One study

Date: This profile was posted on March 22, 2013

Program Summary

An approach to alcohol prevention, typically delivered to high school students, that combines peer support with group reward structures and. The program is rated Effective. Participants showed gains in alcohol-related knowledge at posttest, relative to both the traditional and no-instruction control groups. They experienced a decrease in alcohol consumption, better attitudes toward drinking and driving, and lower rates of reported impulsive behavior maintained through follow-up.

Program Description

Program Goal/Target Population
The Teams–Games–Tournaments (TGT) program is an approach to alcohol prevention that combines peer support with group reward structures. It is typically delivered to high school students.

Program Components
Within each participating school, students take part in a 4-week educational program providing alcohol information and encouraging the application of these concepts in the youths’ lives. All activities emphasize the use of peer support to enhance learning and the acceptance of responsible attitudes toward drinking.

The program begins with a 50-question pretest of alcohol knowledge. Based on their test results, students are classified as high achievers (those with high levels of knowledge about alcohol), middle achievers (those with moderate knowledge), and low achievers (those most lacking). The students are then grouped into eight-member teams containing two high achievers, four middle achievers, and two low achievers.

The alcohol education units are presented for 50 minutes each day for 4 weeks. During the first 3 days of each week, discussions and participatory activities cover alcohol-related concepts. On the fourth day, students work in their TGT teams to complete worksheets in preparation for the tournament. The tournament is held on the fifth day.

The tournament games are designed to assess and reinforce class lessons through short-answer questions. The structure ensures that competitors rotate through the tables regularly so that competition is not skewed in favor of any group of achievers. Scores are kept for each individual during the tournament games, as well as for teams. Individual and team scores are posted after the tournament.

Program Theory
The program was developed using a behavioral group work perspective and consequently emphasizes group rather than individual achievement. It builds on research on games as a teaching device, small groups as classroom work units, and the task-and-reward structures used in the traditional classroom.

The curriculum covers the biological, psychological, and sociocultural determinants of alcoholism. Students learn how to make realistic judgments about their own present or possible future use; they also learn about the progression from responsible consumption to problem usage to alcoholism.

During the program, basic principles of social learning theory illustrate the concept that all drinking behaviors are learned. For example, an individual with a drinking problem can learn to drink differently, and the drinker who currently has no problem can control circumstances so that drinking remains within acceptable bounds. With this knowledge, students then learn self-management tools: assertiveness, refusal skills, and how to change their internal and external environment.

Key Personnel
The program is implemented and led by regular classroom teachers who receive training about the use of the TGT curriculum and behavioral techniques.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Alcohol Knowledge

Wodarski (1987) found that Teams–Games–Tournaments (TGT) participants showed gains in alcohol-related knowledge at posttest, relative to both the traditional and no-instruction control groups. Additional analyses confirmed that these effects were sustained at the 1-year and 2-year follow-ups. School effects were not significant, suggesting that the characteristics of particular school systems did not affect the outcomes.

Drinking Behavior
Measures of alcohol consumption also favored the experimental group. From pretest to posttest, the TGT group experienced a decrease of 6.67 points, compared with a 0.57 point change for the traditional instruction groups and a 0.49 point change for the control group. These effects were statistically significant. At the 2-year follow-up, the positive effects of the program weakened over time yet remained significant; the decrease in “maintenance” for the TGT group was the smallest.

Attitude Changes Concerning Drinking and Driving
At follow-up the TGT participants showed significantly better attitudes toward drinking and driving. These changes were maintained at the 1-year and 2-year follow-ups.

Impulsive Behavior
TGT students showed significantly lower rates of reported impulsive behavior compared with the other two groups. The reductions were maintained through the 1-year and 2-year follow-ups.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Wodarski (1987) used an experimental design to assess the impact of the Teams–Games–Tournaments (TGT) program on attitudes toward drinking and driving, knowledge about alcohol, drinking behavior, and impulsive behavior. Five school systems in Georgia participated in the study (one metropolitan, two semimetropolitan, and two rural school systems).

Classes were randomly assigned to one of the three conditions: those that received TGT instruction (n=526 students at year-1 follow-up, 389 students at 2-year follow-up), those that received traditional instruction (n=361 students at 1-year follow-up, 267 at 2-year follow-up), and those that made up the control, no-treatment group (n=384 students at 1-year follow-up, 284 at 2-year follow-up). For the 1-year follow-up, 21 percent were seniors, 49 percent were juniors, and 27 percent were sophomores. At the 2-year follow-up, 29 percent were juniors and 49 percent seniors. Attrition from the total sample was 6 percent for year 1, and 11 percent for the 2-year follow-up. Analyses found that dropouts were not significantly different from the follow-up sample.

A 200-item pool of test questions was developed according to the content contained within the curriculum. Fifty of these questions were randomly selected for use on the pretest and posttest. The first follow-up of the program participants was conducted 1 year after completion of the educational programs. The second follow-up was conducted 2 years after completion of the educational programs. All research subjects completed surveys assessing four sets of variables for baseline, posttest, and follow-up data:
  • Alcohol-related knowledge (Engs Scale)
  • Attitudes toward alcohol use and abuse (Stumphauzer’s Behavioral Analysis Questionnaire for Adolescent Drinkers, Glickson’s Adolescent Alcohol Questionnaire, and the Index of Family Relations)
  • Current patterns of alcohol use (Index of Self-Esteem and the Generalized Contentment Scale)
  • Impulsive behavior
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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
Wodarski, John S. 1987a. “Teaching Adolescents About Alcohol and Driving: A 2-Year Follow-Up.” Journal of Drug Education 17(4):327–43.
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Additional References

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

Wodarski, John S. 1987b. “A Social Learning Approach to Teaching Adolescents About Alcohol and Driving: A Multiple-Variable Follow-Up Evaluation.” Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 18(1):51–60.

Wodarski, John S., and Marvin D. Feit. 1995. Adolescent Substance Abuse: An Empirically Based Group Preventive Health Paradigm. New York, N.Y.: Haworth Press.

Wodarski, John S., and Lois A. Wodarski. 1993. Curriculums and Practical Aspects of Implementation: Prevention Health Services for Adolescents. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, Inc.

———. 1998. Adolescent Violence: An Empirically Based School/Family Paradigm. New York, N.Y.: Springer.

Wodarski, John S., Lois A. Wodarski, and Catherine N. Dulmus. 2002. Adolescent Depression and Suicide: A Comprehensive Empirical Intervention for Prevention and Treatment. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas.

Wodarski, Lois A., and John S. Wodarski. 1995. Adolescent Sexuality: A Peer/Family Curriculum. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas.

Wodarski, John S., Lois A. Wodarski, and Heather Parris. 2004. “Teams–Games–Tournaments: Four Decades of Research.” Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work: Advances in Practice, Programming, Research and Policy 1(1):23–43.
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Program Snapshot

Age: 13 - 18

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, White

Geography: Rural, Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): School

Program Type: Classroom Curricula, Alcohol and Drug Prevention

Current Program Status: Active

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

Program Developer:
John Wodarski
Professor of Social Work and Senior Research Scientist
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Children's Mental Health Services Research Center, 324 Henson Hall
Knoxville TN 37996
Phone: 865.974.3988
Fax: 865.974.1662