Substance Use Prevention Programs for Indigenous Adolescents in the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand: Protocol for a Systematic Review

Mieke Snijder, Lexine Stapinski, Briana Lees, Nicola Newton, Katrina Champion, Catherine Chapman, James Ward, Maree Teesson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Indigenous adolescents are at a higher risk of experiencing harms related to substance use compared with their non-Indigenous counterparts as a consequence of earlier onset and higher rates of substance use. Early onset of substance use has been identified as a risk factor for future substance use problems and other health, social, and family outcomes. Therefore, prevention of substance use among adolescents has been identified as a key area to improve health of Indigenous Peoples. Evidence exists for the effectiveness of prevention approaches for adolescents in mainstream populations and, most recently, for the use of computer- and Internet-delivered interventions to overcome barriers to implementation. However, there is currently no conclusive evidence about the effectiveness of these approaches for Indigenous adolescents. Objective: The purpose of this review is to synthesize the international evidence regarding the effectiveness of substance use prevention programs for Indigenous adolescents in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Methods: A total of 8 peer-reviewed databases and 20 gray literature databases will be searched, using search terms in line with the aims of this review and based on previous relevant reviews of substance use prevention. Studies will be included if they evaluate a substance use prevention program with Indigenous adolescents (aged 10 to 19 years) as the primary participant group and are published between January 1, 1990 and August 31, 2017. Results: A narrative synthesis will be provided about the effectiveness of the programs, the type of program (whether culture-based, adapted, or unadapted), delivery of the program (computer- and Internet-delivered or traditional), and the setting in which the programs are delivered (community, school, family, clinical, or a combination). Conclusions: The study will identify core elements of effective substance use prevention programs among Indigenous adolescents and appraise the methodological quality of the studies. This review will provide researchers, policy makers, and program developers with evidence about the potential use of prevention approaches for Indigenous adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere38
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research: Research Protocols
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • Aborigines
  • Adolescent alcohol use
  • Alaska Natives
  • Australian
  • Indians
  • Indigenous population
  • Marijuana smoking
  • Minority groups
  • North American
  • Prevention
  • Substance abuse
  • Tobacco


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