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All Stars™

Ages 11-15

Rating: Level 3


All Stars™ is a character-based approach to preventing high-risk behaviors such as substance use, violence, and premature sexual activity in teens ages 11 to 15. The program is based on strong research identifying the critical factors that lead young people to begin experimenting with substances and engaging in other high-risk behaviors. It is designed to reinforce positive qualities that are typical of youths at this age. It works to strengthen five specific qualities vital to achieving preventive effects:

  • Establishing positive norms
  • Building strong personal commitments
  • Promoting positive parental attentiveness
  • Developing positive ideals and future aspirations
  • Promoting bonding with school and community organizations

A program specialist or regular classroom teacher can implement the program. All Stars™ consists of whole classroom sessions, small group sessions outside of the classroom, and one-on-one sessions between the instructor and the child. The program is interactive, including debates, games, and general discussion. Homework assignments are given to include parents in the program and to increase parent–child interactions. All Stars™ is also used in community-based settings such as afterschool programs, faith-based communities, Girls and Boys Clubs, and community centers.


The most comprehensive evaluation of All Stars™ consisted of a single-cohort longitudinal design with pretest, posttest, and 1-year follow-up. Sixth and seventh grade students in 14 middle schools participated in the evaluation. The sample consisted of 1,655 students, of which 55 percent were female and 69 percent white, 25 percent African-American, and 6 percent Hispanic. Schools were matched and randomized to the specialist-run treatment condition (n=629), teacher-run treatment condition (n=287), or control condition (n=739). Pretest and posttest questionnaires measured substance use, sexual behavior, violence, and the mediating variables of bonding, commitment, ideals, and perceived norms.

All Stars™ was then reevaluated using a similar technique. Fourteen middle schools (n=1,857) were randomly assigned to the specialist treatment group, teacher treatment group, or control group. The sample was 54 percent female and 69 percent white, 23.3 percent African-American, 7.7 percent other ethnicities. All participants were 11 to 13 years old. Students were given a pretest before program implementation and a posttest at the end of the school year to assess sexual behavior and alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.


The comprehensive evaluation of All Stars™ indicated that when implemented by teachers the program influenced the mediators of problem behaviors for white students. However, these were only short-term changes. When a specialist delivered the program, there were delayed effects on mediating variables for Hispanic students. And there were delayed effects for African-American students regardless of who implemented the program. This evaluation showed limited positive results for the All Stars™ program.

The next evaluation resulted in more positive changes, though the evaluation looked only at short-term results. When teachers implemented the program, there were significant reductions in the use of alcohol, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and inhalants. Although there were no significant effects for marijuana use or sexual activity, there were changes in the desirable direction. The program had a significant effect in changing normative beliefs, lifestyle incongruence, commitment to school, impulsive decision-making, and sensation-seeking behavior. These results were found only for the teacher-implemented program.

Risk Factors


  • Anti-social behavior and alienation/Delinquent beliefs/General delinquency involvement/Drug dealing
  • Early onset of aggression and/or violence
  • Early sexual involvement
  • Favorable attitudes toward drug use/Early onset of AOD use/Alcohol and/or drug use
  • Poor refusal skills

Protective Factors


  • Healthy / Conventional beliefs and clear standards
  • Positive / Resilient temperament
  • Positive expectations / Optimism for the future
  • Self-efficacy
  • Social competencies and problem-solving skills


  • Safe environment / Low neighborhood crime


  • OJJDP: Blueprints
  • SAMHSA: Model Programs
  • NIJ: What Works
  • OJJDP/CSAP: Strengthen Families
  • HHS: Surgeon General
  • Department of Education
  • NIDA: Preventing Drug Abuse


Donaldson, S.I.; J.W. Graham; and William B. Hansen. 1994. “Testing the Generalizability of Intervening Mechanism Theories: Understanding the Effects of Adolescent Drug Use Prevention Interventions.” Journal of Behavioral Medicine17(2):195–216.

Donaldson, S.I.; J.W. Graham; A.M. Piccinin; and William B. Hansen. 1995. “Resistance Skills Training and Onset of Alcohol Use: Evidence for Beneficial and Potentially Harmful Effects in Public Schools and in Private Catholic Schools.” Health Psychology 14(4):291–300.

Hansen, William B. 1996. “Pilot Test Results Comparing the All Stars™ Program With Seventh Grade D.A.R.E.: Program Integrity and Mediating Variable Analysis.” Substance Use and Misuse 31(10):1359–77.

Hansen, William B., and J.W. Graham. 1991. “Preventing Alcohol, Marijuana, and Cigarette Use Among Adolescents: Peer Pressure Resistance Training Versus Establishing Conservative Norms.” Preventive Medicine 20:414–30.

Hansen, William B.; J.W. Graham; B.H. Wolkenstein; and L.A. Rohrbach. 1991. “Program Integrity as a Moderator of Prevention Program Effectiveness: Results for Fifth Grade Students in the Adolescent Alcohol Prevention Trial.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol 52(6):568–79.

Hansen, William B., and Ralph B. McNeal. 1999. “Drug Education Practice: Results of an Observational Study.” Health Education Research 14(1):85–97.

Harrington, Nancy G., Steven M. Giles, Rick H. Hoyle, Greg J. Feeney, and Stephen C. Youngbluth. 2001. “Evaluation of the All Stars™ Character Education and Problem Behavior Prevention Program: Effects on Mediator and Outcome Variables for Middle School Students.” Health Education Research 28(5):533-46.

McNeal, Ralph B., William B. Hansen, Nancy G. Harrington, and Steven M. Giles. 2004. “How All Stars™ Works: An Examination of Program Effects on Mediating Variables.” Health Education and Behavior 31(2):165–78.


Kathleen Nelson–Simley
Tanglewood Research
420 Gallimore Dairy Road, Suite A
Greensboro, NC 27409
Phone: (800) 822-7148
Fax: (336) 662-0099
Web site: