Describing Teacher-Student Interactions: A Qualitative Assessment of Teacher Implementation of the 7th Grade keepin' it REAL Substance Use Intervention

Jonathan Pettigrew, Michelle Miller-Day, Young Ju Shin, Michael L. Hecht, Janice L. Krieger, John W. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Variations in the delivery of school-based substance use prevention curricula affect students' acquisition of the lesson content and program outcomes. Although adaptation is sometimes viewed as a lack of fidelity, it is unclear what types of variations actually occur in the classroom. This observational study investigated teacher and student behaviors during implementation of a middle school-based drug prevention curriculum in 25 schools across two Midwestern states. Trained observers coded videos of 276 lessons, reflecting a total of 31 predominantly Caucasian teachers (10 males and 21 females) in 73 different classes. Employing qualitative coding procedures, the study provides a working typology of implementation patterns based on varying levels of teacher control and student participation. These patterns are fairly consistent across lessons and across classes of students, suggesting a teacher-driven delivery model where teachers create a set of constraints within which students vary their engagement. Findings provide a descriptive basis grounded in observation of classroom implementation that can be used to test models of implementation fidelity and quality as well as impact training and other dissemination research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-56
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Adolescent health
  • Delivery
  • Implementation
  • Substance use prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this