New Study Shows Local Teens Have Ability To Make Healthy Life Choices

Monday, April 14, 2014

New data show an increase in teens’ ability to make healthy life choices about drugs, sex, alcohol and violence. The positive findings from a randomized control trial of the Life On Point program has been published in The Journal of Adolescent and Family Health.  

Life On Point has impacted nearly 200,000 teens, since it was established in 1998, in making healthy life choices in a broad spectrum of adolescent risk behaviors, by nurturing those strengths that lead youth to thrive, said officials.

According to the study’s independent evaluator, Dr. Chris Horne, associate professor of Public Administration at UTC, the program’s youth development strategies were instrumental in helping teens develop the skills to avoid risky behavior. The strategies include: healthy choices, academic attachment, resisting peer pressure, positive social support and positive life vision.  

The findings reveal an increase in their ability to make healthy life choices along with a rise across five outcomes for Life On Point participants. The most significant improvements were in the areas of resisting peer pressure and making healthy choices about drugs, alcohol, sex and violence. Life On Point participants’ positive responses increased from 52 percent to 87 percent while the control group percentage decreased from 65 percent to 59 percent.

Life On Point groups meet weekly to promote positive youth development and consist of a cross-section of middle and high school students at 17 schools in five counties. The program is now being replicated in high risk schools in Memphis and Atlanta. The Curricula utilizes evidence-based research and strategies.   

“After 16 years of program development and 11 years of program evaluation, I am elated that The Journal of Adolescent and Family Health published these strong results," said Amy Pearson, On Point's executive director and author of Life On Point.  "Completing a randomized control trial in a school setting requires great cooperation from school administration and staff, parents and youth, the evaluator, funders, and the Life On Point facilitators.  We are grateful to all who assisted in this effort, and we look forward to replicating the study to further inform our program development.  Results represent young lives touched, many of whom have remained in On Point’s program.  

Pearson shared comments from a Life On Point graduating senior, “This group has become a family to me and I’ve learned so much.  I’m a much stronger person now than I was when I joined several years ago.” 

"The decreases in measures of positive development observed in this study's control group are consistent with previous research that reports a tendency for the values and self-perceptions that protect adolescents from choosing risky behaviors to weaken, particularly during the middle school years (Scales, Benson, Roehlkepartain, Sesma, and Van Dulmen, 2006)," said Dr. Horne.  "This study's findings provide evidence that Positive Youth Development approaches, in general, and Life On Point, specifically, can help reverse this tendency and promote youth's adoption of pro-social norms, social support, and resistance to risky behaviors."

Kimothy Warren, program director for the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program for the State of Tennessee commented on the Life On Point program, “The Tennessee Department of Health has worked closely with On Point for several risk avoidance education projects. We were pleased to review the program evaluation, which suggests that the Life On Point program is, indeed, providing students with the life skills and essential assets to successfully achieve their future life goals.”

Robert H. (Scott) Maclellan of the R.L. and K.H. Maclellan Foundation stated, “The community has a responsibility to our youth to see that they are educated and grow up with healthy lifestyles.  It is exciting to see that our local Life On Point program helps accomplish those goals, according to Dr. Christopher Horne’s research and peer reviewed article.” 

“Seventy-seven students at an urban public middle school participated in the evaluation during the 2011-2012 academic year," said Dr. Horne.  "These students were assigned to treatment (n = 39) and control groups (n =38) using random assignment, stratified to balance the groups by sex, race, and grade, with each student having an equal probability of being assigned to either group."  Students assigned to the treatment group participated in Life On Point during the fall semester, while the control group participated in programming during the spring, after the trial concluded.

This project was funded under an agreement with the State of Tennessee and the generosity of the Robert L. and Kathrina H. Maclellan Foundation. Dr. Horne’s findings are published in the January 13, 2014 edition of The Journal of Adolescent and Family Health.  To download or view the article, click on the following link: http://scholar.utc.edu/jafh/vol6/iss1/2/ 

For more about Life On Point or to get involved with On Point, call 899-9188. Connect online at: www.liveonpoint.org.  


Mary McKenzie Joins CHI Memorial Medical Group

CHI Memorial Medical Group is pleased to welcome Mary McKenzie, D.O. to CHI Integrative Medicine Associates.  Dr. McKenzie received her medical degree from Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, Ohio.  She completed her residency at University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. “Dr. McKenzie is a great addition to this practice,” says Glyn Hughes, CEO, Mountain ... (click for more)

Debra Chew: Lifted Out Of The Quicksand Of Fear

I sat paralyzed in my car at the bottom of a steep driveway - on Signal Mountain.  I had an important lunch meeting there because I was about to be introduced to Dalton Roberts, a writer from Chattanooga.  I had enjoyed reading his columns, and as I was a new writer, not only was I looking forward to gaining some insight into publishing opportunities in Chattanooga but ... (click for more)

Hutcheson Medical Center Seeking Court Approval To Sell Trenton Family Practice For $350,000

Hutcheson Medical Center, continuing to make cost-cutting measures, is seeking court approval to sell the Trenton Family Practice at Trenton, Ga., for $350,000. Ted Rumley, county executive for Dade County, said the medical center is so important for the county that officials have arranged for the Dade County Industrial Development Authority to buy it. He said arrangements ... (click for more)

Truck Driver Killed In Wreck On I-75 SB After Striking Guardrail

A driver of a tractor-trailer was killed in a wreck on I-75 southbound near the Bonny Oaks Drive exit early Monday morning. The victim was Kenneth Mills, 59. The cause of the tractor-trailer’s collision with the guardrail is still under investigation. At approximately 5:51 a.m., Chattanooga Police officers responded to the traffic accident at the 700 block of I-75 ... (click for more)

DWT Is DUI - And Response

A routine narrative of a DUI arrest report goes something like this:   The defendant was operating a motor vehicle in the 00 block of sonsoroad. The driver was weaving back and forth across the marked roadway. The defendant drove through a stop sign. Was stopped at an intersection despite the traffic light was green. Entered the lane of another vehicle and caused a ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UT’s Gender-Neutral Dopes

With due apology to Smokey, the University of Tennessee’s famed blue-tick hound, the tail is wagging the dog at UT-Knoxville. Donna Braquet, the director of the university’s Pride Center, wants to suck 99.9 percent of the 28,000 students into a ridiculous scheme that will make the campus “welcoming and inclusive for all” … .01 percent. Her idea is to do away with binary gender ... (click for more)