Preventing alcohol misuse in young people: evaluation and exploratory trial of the Kids, Adults Together programme

Lead investigator
Dr. Jeremy Segrott, Cardiff University

Families play a crucial role in shaping how young people learn about and use alcohol. Parents are important role models through their own attitudes and drinking within the home, and how they talk to their children about alcohol. The Kids, Adults Together programme (KAT) is designed to increase parental awareness about the need for positive role-modelling and clear communication in relation to alcohol. It is based on the Parents, Adults and Kids Together (PAKT) programme developed by Life Education Australia.

Young people (particularly 15-year-olds) in the UK have one of the highest rates of alcohol misuse in Europe. People who start drinking at a younger age are more likely to have problems with alcohol when they get older. The family is a key influence on when young people first start to drink, and encouraging families to talk about alcohol has been shown to help reduce alcohol misuse.

Research has identified that school-based programmes may be more effective if they involve parents as well as pupils. However, most alcohol education in schools does not involve families. Programmes which have tried to do this have often found it very difficult to involve large numbers of parents.

Aims & objectives
Evaluate KAT, an alcohol misuse prevention intervention being delivered to primary school children and their parents.
Study design

Phase 1: Qualitative methods, literature review

  • Interviews with members of the working group developing KAT, school staff and other key stakeholders;
  • Analysis of documents relating to the programme’s development;
  • Observation of classroom preparation and the fun evening in two schools participating in KAT;
  • Focus groups with children and interviews with parents to explore their experience of participating in KAT;
  • Questionnaire distributed to all families invited to attend the KAT programme in the study schools (two schools in the Gwent police area).

Phase 2: Exploratory trial

  • Exploratory trial with schools as the unit of randomisation, with an embedded process evaluation.
  • Data was collected from parents and pupils on family communication and alcohol consumption patterns. An embedded process evaluation assessed the feasibility of delivering KAT as part of a full scale trial, developed KAT’s theoretical model and examined implementation fidelity, programme reach and acceptability.

Communication within the family was assessed at the beginning and at four months (pupils); and at six months (parents).

Further information & publications
Start date
Phase 1: April 2008, Phase 2: February 2012
End date
Phase 1: June 2009, Phase 2: April 2013
Phase 1: £59,101, Phase 2: £193,290
Trial register number
Phase 1: N/A, Phase 2: ISRCTN80672127