Coalition Building

Description of Strategy

A coalition is a group of individuals who align in a formal, organized way to address issues of shared concern over time. “Coalitions often include local government officials, nonprofit agency and business leaders, and interested citizens” (Zakocs & Edwards, 2006). Coalitions offer a unique opportunity for community members to define, identify, and implement solutions for local substance abuse problems. One example of an effective coalition from the traffic safety community is Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). This coalition has actively worked to reduce impaired driving since the 1980s (National Association of Governors’ Highway Safety Representatives, 2001).

Also known as...

Youth empowerment, tobacco coalition, tobacco prevention coalition

Discussion of Effectiveness

Alcohol

The evidence is unclear on the effectiveness of coalition building as a solo strategy for preventing alcohol abuse. Findings are supportive for alcohol outcomes when coalition building is part of a multi-component strategy with many environmental prevention programs (Guide to Community Preventive Services, 2010; Weitzman, Nelson, Lee, & Wechsler, 2004). However, a systematic review evaluating the components of an effective coalition cautioned against drawing conclusions about associations between coalitions and population-level outcomes. This is due to the wide variations in indicators of coalition effectiveness and coalition-building factors examined across relatively few studies, discrepancies in how these variables were measured, and the studies’ reliance on cross sectional designs (Zakocs & Edwards, 2006).

Tobacco

Additional research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of coalition building as a prevention strategy for tobacco and other drugs.

References

Strategy Description

National Association of Governors’ Highway Safety Representatives. (2001). Community how to guides on underage drinking: Guide 1, Coalition Building. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved July 30, 2012

Zakocs, R. C., & Edwards, E. M. (2006). What explains community coalition effectiveness: A review of the literature. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 30(4), 351–361. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2005.12.004

Evidence Base

Guide to Community Preventive Services. (2010). Reducing alcohol-impaired driving: Multicomponent interventions with community mobilization.

Hays, C., Hays, S., DeVille, J., & Mulhall, P. (2000). Capacity for effectiveness: The relationship between coalition structure and community impact. Evaluation and Program Planning, 23(3), 373–379. doi:10.1016/S0149-7189(00)00026-4

Roussos, S. T., & Fawcett, S. B. (2000). A review of collaborative partnerships as a strategy for improving community health. Annual Review of Public Health, 21(1), 369–402. doi:10.1146/annurev.publhealth.21.1.369

Wagenaar, A. C., Erickson, D. J., Harwood, E. M., & O’Malley, P. M. (2006). Effects of state coalitions to reduce underage drinking: A national evaluation. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 31(4), 307–315. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2006.06.001

Weitzman, E. R., Nelson, T. F., Lee, H., & Wechsler, H. (2004). Reducing drinking and related harms in college: Evaluation of the “A Matter of Degree” program. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 27(3), 187–196. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2004.06.008

Zakocs, R. C., & Edwards, E. M. (2006). What explains community coalition effectiveness?: A review of the literature. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 30(4), 351–361. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2005.12.004

Futher Reading

Childs, J. C., Moody, K. A., & Sepples, S. B. (2003). Intervening with at-risk youth: Evaluation of the youth empowerment and support program. Pediatric Nursing, 29(4), 263+.

Cramer, M. E., Mueller, K. J., & Harrop, D. (2003). Comprehensive evaluation of a community coalition: A case study of environmental tobacco smoke reduction. Public Health Nursing, 20(6), 464–477. doi:10.1046/j.1525-1446.2003.20607.x

Garner, L. (2007). Evaluation of a youth substance abuse prevention coalition: A case study of a community initiated model. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, United States — Illinois.

Marr-Lyon, L., Young, K., & Quintero, G. (2008). An evaluation of youth empowerment tobacco prevention programs in the southwest. Journal of Drug Education, 38(1), 39–53. doi:10.2190/DE.38.1.d

National Association of Governors’ Highway Safety Representatives. (2001). Community how to guides on underage drinking prevention: Guide 1, Coalition Building. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Wolff, T. (2001). Community coalition building – Contemporary practice and research: Introduction. American Journal of Community Psychology, 29(2), 165–172. doi:10.1023/A:1010314326787