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STARS for Families

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Start Taking Alcohol Risks Seriously (STARS) for Families is a health promotion program that aims to prevent or reduce alcohol use among middle school youth ages 11 to 14 years. The program is founded on the Multi-Component Motivational Stages (McMOS) prevention model, which is based on the stages of behavioral change found within the Transtheoretical Model of Change. The McMOS model posits a continuum of five stages in the initiation of alcohol use: pre-contemplation (has not tried alcohol in the past year), contemplation (is thinking about trying alcohol soon), preparation (is planning to start drinking soon), action (started drinking in the past 6 months), and maintenance (has been drinking for longer than 6 months). STARS for Families intervention materials are tailored to the individual's stage of alcohol use initiation. STARS for Families has three components. Youth who participate in the program receive brief individual consultations in school or in after- school programs about why and how to avoid alcohol use and they may also receive a follow-up consultation. These standardized sessions are provided by trained adults guided by protocols. A series of eight postcards are mailed to parents/guardians providing key facts about how to talk to their children about avoiding alcohol. In addition, the family completes four take-home lessons designed to enhance parent-child communication regarding prevention skills and knowledge. These three components can be implemented separately or in various combinations. In addition to its implementation in school and after-school settings, the program also has been used in health clinics, youth organizations, and homes.