Tracking procedures for locating high-risk youth

Few published works are available that provide a comprehensive description of tracking procedures. This article describes the data collection tracking protocol that was used in Project Towards No Drug Abuse (Project TND), to follow high-risk youth over a 5 -+ year period. Youth were followed from 1994 through 2000. A total of 35% of these youth were assessed 5 -+ years later. Collapsing across the last two waves, 46% of these youth were followed an average of 5 years later. These procedures may be helpful in tracking highly mobile youth.
McCuller,William J.
Dent,Clyde W.
Accession Number: 7269044; McCuller, William J.Sussman, SteveHoliday, KarenCraig, SandeDent, Clyde W.; Source Information: Sep2002, Vol. 25 Issue 3, p345; Subject Term: DRUG abuseSubject Term: TEENAGERS; Number of Pages: 18p; Document Type: Article
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Evaluation the Health Professions
Describes the tracking procedures used by Project Towards No Drug Abuse (PTND), which followed high-risk youth over a 5 1/2 year period from 1994 to 2000. PTND used a randomized, multiwave experimental design at 21 continuation high schools located in five counties in Southern Arizona. The project consisted of self-report assessments at baseline, followed by a three week educational treatment program delivered to an experimental group, with an immediate posttest and one-year follow-up. Each year of the program constituted a single wave, with 1,861 participants over five waves. Prior-wave participants were contacted during each one-year follow-up round. PTND developed a tracking database and had a dedicated staff member to serve as the tracking coordinator, as well as data entry staff and a database manager. Every consented participant filled-out a data card. Data cards recorded: full name, social security number, driver's license number, two contact persons (including address and telephone), family or permanent address, telephone number, grade, and birthdate. Information provided was checked against school records, which also provided any missing information. Participants were contacted for additional information if needed. At annual follow-ups, participants were mailed a letter informing them that they would be contact by PTND staff by phone. Participants who were unreachable by mail or phone were pursued using various tracking methods. These included: * 411 telephone directory assistance. * Multiple mail-out forms (hoping that participants would be reached at forwarding addresses). Mail-out forms included: pre-call mailing, birthday mailing, holiday letter, thank-you letter, and session summaries. * Internet people finder search engines. * Haines Criss-Cross reverse directory service. * Home visits by field interviewers. * County Registrar (voting records accessed via a participant consent form). * Department of Motor Vehicles records. * TRW/Experian address database from credit records. * US Search (a person locator firm that uses TRW and social security information). * A toll-free line that participants could call to update their information. As a result of these intense efforts, 35% of base (first wave) participants completed a 5th wave follow-up survey. By collapsing across the 4th and 5th waves, 46% of the total sample was retained. Anecdotally, participants were more cooperative after the survey instrument was shortened from 45 minutes to a 25 minutes.
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Adolescent / High School; Underserved Populations
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