Assessing knowledge, attitude, and behavior expectancy change in third graders : an evaluation of the Disney crew drug education program


Drug prevention program assessment is a relatively new field especially with ages nine and under. Reasons for the lack of research include the perceptions that these children are not at risk and that they are very difficult to assess. These assumptions have proved not to be entirely true. With certain guidelines in creating assessment instruments for the younger age groups, adequate assessments can be done. The Disney Crew drug prevention puppet show has been shown in Central Florida schools since 1990. The puppets in the show provide information about drugs and what they do to the body, deliver a strong "say no" message, and model appropriate decisions regarding drug use. The program was evaluated in 1993 by a group headed by Carnot Nelson, professor at the University of South Florida. However, there were several limitations to the evaluation. These limitations included assessment instruments that were very brief with few response choices and low reliability, no standardized administration procedure, and no follow-up assessment of retention of program material.

The current study was an attempt to formalize the assessment of the Disney Crew Program. Longer instruments with more response choices, a standardized administration procedure, and a two-month follow-up to assess retention of the program material were just some of the changes made with this assessment.

Participants consisted of 308 third grade students (162 experimental, 146 control) from Central Florida schools. The participants had no previous exposure to the Disney Crew program. The assessment instruments consisted of: A Knowledge (K) scale containing 12 multiple choice questions about drugs; an Attitude (A) scale containing 14 statements reflecting positive and negative attitudes toward drugs in which participants agreed or disagreed; and an Expectancy ( E) scale containing 12 vignettes in which participants made decisions regarding drug use. These three scales were given to each participant a total of three times: Before the show (pretest), within one week following the show (posttest), and two-months after the show (follow-up). The control group was administered the scales with the same time constraints. It was expected that the experimental group would show significant improvement on all three scales from pretest to posttest administration. These gains were also expected to significantly surpass scores of the control group. Finally, gains for the experimental group were expected to persist over the two-month interim, demonstrating retention of the program material.

Results demonstrated that the experimental group did, in fact, acquire significant gains on all three scales from pretest to posttest administration. In addition, the experimental group had significantly higher posttest scores than the control group on the Knowledge and Attitude scales. Finally, the experimental group maintained the gains on the Attitude and Expectancy scales.

Some unexpected results occurred as well. These included steady gains in scores made by the control group over time, with a significant gain made on the Knowledge scale. In addition, losses in retention of drug facts, assessed by the Knowledge scale, occurred for the experimental group. Finally, pretest scores for the experimental and control groups were significantly different on all three scales. Overall, the results of this study demonstrated that the Disney Crew drug prevention program had a positive effect on drug knowledge, attitudes toward drug use, and expected drug use for these students. Implications of these results and suggestions for future drug prevention program assessment are discussed.


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Graduation Date





McGuire, John M.


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences






90 p.



Length of Campus-only Access


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Masters Thesis (Open Access)




Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences

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