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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 316029, 13 pages
Research Article

Longitudinal Impact of the Project PATHS on Adolescent Risk Behavior: What Happened after Five Years?

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

1Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom, Hong Kong
2Public Policy Research Institute, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
3Department of Social Work, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
4Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau, Macau, China
5Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Kentucky Children’s Hospital, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY 40506, USA

Received 15 August 2011; Accepted 11 September 2011

Academic Editor: Joav Merrick

Copyright © 2012 Daniel T. L. Shek and Lu Yu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present study investigated the longitudinal impact of the Project PATHS, a large-scale curriculum-based positive youth development program in Hong Kong, on the development of adolescents’ risk behavior over a period of five years. Using a longitudinal randomized controlled design, eight waves of data were collected from 19 experimental schools in which students participated in the Project PATHS ( 𝑁 = 2 , 8 5 0 at Wave 8) and 24 control schools without joining the Project PATHS ( 𝑁 = 3 , 6 4 0 at Wave 8). At each wave, students responded to measures assessing their current risk behaviors, including delinquency, use of different types of drug, and their intentions of participating in risk behaviors in the future. Results demonstrated that adolescents receiving the program exhibited significantly slower increases in delinquent behaviors and substance use as compared to the control participants. During two years after the completion of the program, differences in youth risk behaviors in the two groups still existed. These results suggest that the Project PATHS has long-term effect in preventing adolescent problem behavior through promoting positive youth development.