IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Detecting Selection Bias in Community Disseminations of Universal Family-Based Prevention Programs

Listed author(s):
  • Laura Griner Hill
  • Scott G. Goates
  • Robert Rosenman


    (School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University)

The goals of the present study were to demonstrate a method for examining selection bias in large-scale implementations of community-based family skills programs, and to explore the nature of selection bias in one such implementation. We used evaluation data from a statewide dissemination of a popular substance abuse prevention program (N programs = 42; N youth = 294). The program’s evaluation measures were designed to match publicly available data on risk and protective factor scales collected in the state’s schools, which enabled us to construct a comparison sample of non-participants (N = 20,608). We then examined the risk status of adolescents in both groups to determine whether risk and protective factor scores were related to the probability of program participation. Participation was predicted by both demographics and risk and protective factor scores. Among families with younger adolescents, program attendance was associated with lower risk; among families with older adolescents, participation was associated with both higher risk (on parental management skills) and lower risk (on substance use). Selection effects must be identified and corrected for in order to calculate valid estimates of program benefits, but in community-based disseminations, the necessary supplemental comparison sample is difficult to obtain. The evaluation design and analytic approach described here can be used in program evaluations of real-world, “bottom-up” dissemination efforts to identify who attends a program, which in turn can help to inform recruitment strategies, to pinpoint possible selection influences on measured program outcomes, and to refine estimates of program costs and benefits.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, 2008
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University in its series Working Papers with number 2008-2.

in new window

Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Handle: RePEc:wsu:wpaper:rosenman-4
Contact details of provider: Postal:
PO Box 646210, Pullman, WA 99164-646210

Phone: 509-335-5555
Fax: 509-335-1173
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wsu:wpaper:rosenman-4. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Danielle Engelhardt)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.