This research project trialled an adapted version of SHAHRP in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland SHAHRP study aimed to enhance alcohol related knowledge, create more healthy alcohol-related attitudes and reduce alcohol-related harms in 14- to 16-year olds. Students were from post-primary schools (high schools) in the Eastern Health Board Area in Northern Ireland. A total of 2349 participants were recruited at baseline (mean age 13.84) with an attrition rate of 12.8% at 32 month follow up.
The non-randomised control, longitudinal design with intervention and control groups, assessed students at baseline and 12, 24 and 32 months after baseline. Within the intervention arm SHAHRP was differentially facilitated by school teachers and community-based facilitators. The intervention was an adapted, culturally competent version of SHAHRP (Australia), a curriculum programme delivered in two consecutive academic years, with an explicit harm reduction goal. Using the original SHAHRP (Australia) measurement instruments, this study also assessed knowledge, attitudes, alcohol consumption, context of use, harm associated with own alcohol use (own harm) and harm associated with the alcohol use of other people (else harm) were assessed at all time points.
There were significant intervention effects on all study measures (intervention versus controls) with differential effects observed for teacher-delivered and outside facilitator-delivered SHAHRP. There were better observed intervention effects for knowledge, attitudes, own harm and consumption of alcohol when SHAHRP was delivered by outside facilitators, with no observed difference in respect of else harm.
The study provides evidence of the cultural applicability of a harm reduction intervention, (SHAHRP adapted) for risky drinking and alcohol related harm in adolescents in the Northern Ireland context. The replication of the Australian SHAHRP study in Northern Ireland with similar behavioral results, strengthens the importance of providing interactive harm minimisation approach to school based classroom alcohol education.