How Do We Know a Prevention Intervention Works?
There is an increasing demand for scientific evidence to be developed to prove prevention interventions are effective at actually changing the behaviors they target. Developing evidence around a given intervention takes dedicated time and resources and the confidence one can place in the evidence behind a program is understood to occur in stages, as depicted in the image of the pyramid.
While randomized control trial (RCT) studies are often seen as the gold standard in establishing empirical evidence, RCT’s are not always the best evaluation option. RCTs require a significant resource investment, face feasibility challenges in achieving random group assignment, and most practitioners do not want to exclude anyone from participation in order to create a control group necessary for a full RCT experimental design. Local prevention program sponsors may find that data created specifically for evaluation purposes of their own unique events to be most valuable in guiding local decision-making about which types of services are most needed and/or which types of interventions are most effective at achieving the local results they wish to see.
How Do We Know ThinkFast Interactive Works?
The ThinkFast Interactive program is not a stand-alone, one-shot strategy to solving complex health and safety behavior issues, but instead serves as a fun and engaging way to enhance an existing comprehensive prevention plan by reaching out to audiences of young people in a way that will get their attention. ThinkFast Interactive is an evidence-informed intervention in that it has a strong theoretical grounding and utilizes an innovative combination of methods that have been individually proven in control trial studies to promote experiential engagement, learning, and memory recall. Further, custom tailored content allows the program to adapt to local needs, balancing the program’s fidelity to its theory-driven method and its fit within the local context.
In order to provide our program sponsors with data that will be meaningful and helpful to their overall work, TjohnE partners with an external evaluator upon the program sponsors request to develop a specific evaluation plan to align with their custom content and to be feasible to implement in the given context. ThinkFast Interactive has been evaluated repeatedly using a quasi-experimental design and across multiple evaluation settings. Further, TjohnE regularly receives anecdotal evidence from participants and program sponsors including thank you letters and press releases singing ThinkFast Interactive’s praises as a valuable component of local prevention efforts. Further, TjohnE utilizes myemma communication software and regularly collects general feedback from local event leaders to ensure they are satisfied with program services and supports. We can provide a summary of this information to program sponsors at their request. Teens and adults overall have consistently reported high levels of satisfaction with the ThinkFast Interactive program, our team of event Hosts, and the customer service they receive from the TjohnE team in scheduling and coordinating their event.
How Do We Know ThinkFast Interactive Works At Changing Teen Driver Behavior?
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP21) reauthorizes federal transportation dollars and for the first time ever allows states to dedicate fiscal resources to teen driver safety. MAP21 also creates the demand for scientific evidence to be developed to prove these interventions are effective at actually changing teen driver behavior. Driving behavior is very complex, but is most often understood as a function of teen-centered factors including their driving knowledge, attitude towards risky driving, perception of risk for being involved in a crash, and the norms of their peers and parents. The ThinkFast Interactive program content and evaluation survey items are tailored to fit the local conditions of each state where it is implemented and to collect viable information to meet the data demands of MAP21 that can be used with other state Highway Safety Office data in order to establish a connection between changes in knowledge and behavior intentions that may occur after ThinkFast Interactive participation and an overall area’s teen crash rate.
Since 2006, several statewide Highway Safety offices have contracted ThinkFast Interactive services including the administration of local pre/post program evaluations. Data have repeatedly documented the effectiveness of ThinkFast Interactive at increasing highway safety knowledge among both middle and high school students. Teens in statewide samples have consistently increased their knowledge scores by twenty to thirty points after the program in Alaska, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia. Comparisons from pre to post also reveal significant improvements in teen attitudes towards wearing their seat belts, not talking/texting on the cell phone while driving, not speeding, and a range of other risky driving behaviors. Teens also show significant increases in their intentions to intervene as a passenger to promote safety if whoever is driving them is taking unnecessary risks. Geographical areas adequately saturated with ThinkFast Interactive exposure that complements an effective statewide strategic plan also frequently demonstrate decreases in teen crash rates.