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Protecting You/Protecting Me®

Ages 6-11

Rating: Level 2


Protecting You/Protecting Me® (PY/PM) is a 5-year, classroom-based, alcohol-use prevention curriculum for students in grades 1 through 5 (6 to 11 years old). Mothers Against Drinking and Driving (MADD) developed the program in response to requests from educators and community volunteers for an alcohol-use prevention curriculum for elementary school students that could be infused into the core curriculum and that also addressed the risks posed to children as passengers riding with alcohol-impaired drivers.

The PY/PM curriculum is an interactive classroom module that provides 42 lessons (8 lessons in each of grades 1 through 4, and 10 lessons in grade 5) and 40 required reinforcement activities (8 in each grade) that promote students’ personal responsibility. Each lesson carefully integrates several standard educational objectives, including those related to healthy behaviors and information, personal and interpersonal skills, and influencing factors. Trained school staff, prevention specialists, or high school students enrolled in a peer mentor/leadership course can teach the lessons, which last from 30 to 50 minutes each (depending on the grade). The curriculum addresses eight topics: 1) the brain, 2) growth and development, 3) health and safety, 4) rules and laws, 5) friends, 6) choices and decisions, 7) media awareness, and 8) communication (especially with adults).


PY/PM has been evaluated numerous times. The most recent evaluation looked at a PY/PM program led by teachers. Seventy-three teachers were trained on the PY/PM curriculum. The researchers used a quasi-experimental design with a sample of first through fifth graders. Four treatment schools were matched with comparison schools; 848 students completed a pretest, and 722 completed a posttest. The sample was 49 percent male, 56 percent white, 22 percent Hispanic, 10 percent African-American, and 11 percent Asian-American or other. The intervention schools implemented the program for 4 years. This way they were able to study youths with varied exposure to the program. Students were assessed on their knowledge, attitudes, behavior, and intention regarding underage drinking, as well as vehicle safety, media literacy, decision-making skills, stress management, and brain development.

Another evaluation used an experimental design to assess a PY/PM program led by students in four schools in Texas. Forty-four high school students were trained in the PY/PM curriculum that was delivered to the treatment group. One classroom in grades 1 through 5 at each site was randomly assigned to the treatment group and one to the control group, though only data for grades 3 through 5 is reported in this evaluation. The treatment group consisted of 193 students, of which 53 percent were female, 53 percent Anglo, 20 percent Hispanic, 16 percent African-American, and 11 percent American Indian, Asian-American, and other. The control group consisted of 179 students, of which 51 percent were female, 54 percent Anglo, 20 percent Hispanic, 14 percent African-American, and 12 percent American Indian, Asian-American, and other. There were no significant differences between the two groups at pretest. Students were assessed on their knowledge, attitudes, behavior, and intention regarding underage drinking, as well as on vehicle safety, media literacy, decision-making skills, stress management, and brain development.


The evaluation of the teacher-led PY/PM program found that the intervention students improved their stress management, decision-making and vehicle safety skills, while demonstrating positive changes in their attitude toward underage drinking, the perceived harm of alcohol, and knowledge of alcohol’s effect on development. The research also showed that the student’s retained the information learned in the previous year’s PY/PM and benefited from multiple years of the program.

The peer-led evaluation found similar positive results. Treatment students made significant gains in vehicle safety skills, intentions not to ride with an alcohol-impaired driver, media literacy, and knowledge about brain development. Females tended to score better than males on these measures. Results were found at posttest and again at follow-up, 6 weeks later.

Risk Factors


  • Favorable attitudes toward drug use/Early onset of AOD use/Alcohol and/or drug use

Protective Factors


  • Positive / Resilient temperament
  • Social competencies and problem-solving skills


  • SAMHSA: Model Programs


Bell, Mary Lou, Tara Kelley–Baker, Raamses Rider, and Christopher Ringwalt. 2005. “Protecting You/Protecting Me: Effects of an Alcohol Prevention and Vehicle Safety Program on Elementary Students.” Journal of School Health 75(5):171–77.

Bell, Mary Lou, Kappie K. Bliss, and Tara Kelley–Baker. 2003. “Evidence-Based Program Development: The Story of MADD’s Protecting You/Protecting Me.” Unpublished document. Austin, Texas: The Bell Group, Bliss Inc., and Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

Bohman, Thomas M., Edward D. Barker, Mary Lou Bell, Carol M. Lewis, Lori Holleran, and Elizabeth Pomeroy. 2004. “Early Intervention for Alcohol Use Prevention and Vehicle Safety Skills: Evaluating the Protecting You/Protecting Me Curriculum.” Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse 14(1):17–40.


Kappie K. Bliss
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
611 South Congress Avenue, Suite 210
Austin, TX 78704
Phone: (512) 693-9422
Fax: (512) 693-9435
Web site: