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Volume 11 (2011), Pages 546-567
Research Article

Prevention of Adolescent Problem Behavior: Longitudinal Impact of the Project P.A.T.H.S. in Hong Kong

Daniel T. L. Shek1,2,3,4,5 and Lu Yu1

1Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
2Public Policy Research Institute, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
3Department of Social Work, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China
4Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau, Macau, China
5Department of Pediatrics, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY, USA

Received 8 December 2010; Revised 31 December 2010; Accepted 1 January 2011

Academic Editor: Joav Merrick

Copyright © 2011 Daniel T. L. Shek and Lu Yu.


The present study attempts to examine the longitudinal impact of a curriculum-based positive youth development program, entitled the Project P.A.T.H.S. (Positive Adolescent Training through Holistic Social Programmes), on adolescent problem behavior in Hong Kong. Using a longitudinal randomized group design, six waves of data were collected from 19 experimental schools (n = 3,797 at Wave 1) in which students participated in the Project P.A.T.H.S. and 24 control schools (n = 4,049 at Wave 1). At each wave, students responded to questions asking about their current problem behaviors, including delinquency and use of different types of drugs, and their intentions of engaging in such behaviors in the future. Results based on individual growth curve modeling generally showed that the participants displayed lower levels of substance abuse and delinquent behavior than did the control students. Participants who regarded the program to be helpful also showed lower levels of problem behavior than did the control students. The present findings suggest that the Project P.A.T.H.S. is effective in preventing adolescent problem behavior in the junior secondary school years.