The SUPPER Project

What is SUPPER?

Substance Use Prevention Promoted by Eating family meals Regularly

Substance use among adolescents in the U.S. is associated with adverse physical and mental health outcomes in the long-term. Universal youth-focused substance use prevention programs have demonstrated effectiveness but are often not sustainable due to the significant amount of time, effort, and resources required.

This describes a trial protocol for a brief, low-participant-burden intervention to improve substance use-specific parent-child communication through the promotion of family meals and increased parental engagement.

What are the goals of SUPPER?

The intervention has the potential to improve parent-child engagement and communication and conversations about substance use specifically and decrease child substance use risk factors and substance use initiation.

This project will help us understand:

  1. Changes in frequency of parent-child conversations about substance use
  2. Changes in quality of parent-child conversations about substance use 
  3. Changes in quality of family mealtime interactions
  4. Changes in child substance use expectancies (alcohol, cigarettes, & marijuana)
  5. Changes in child affiliation with substance-using peers
  6. Changes in child willingness to use substances
  7. Changes in child intentions to use substances
  8. Changes in pre/early-adolescent substance use initiation 

How will SUPPER accomplish these goals?

This study is a parallel-group randomized controlled trial designed to assess the efficacy of a 13-week intervention. A total of 500 dyads of parents and their 5th-7th grade children are recruited from across Massachusetts and then randomized.

Parents/guardians in the substance use preventive intervention arm receive a short handbook, attend two meetings with an interventionist, and receive two SMS messages per week.

Parents/guardians in the control arm receive the same dose but with content focused on nutrition, physical activity, and weight stigma.

Participant dyads submit videos of family meals, audio recordings of prompted conversations, and quantitative surveys over an 18-month period (baseline, 3, 6, 12, 18 months post-intervention).

The SUPPER Project received R01 funding from a grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Skeer MR, Sabelli RA, RancaƱo KM, Lee-Bravatti M, Ryan EC, Eliasziw M, Spirito A. Randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of a brief, communication-based, substance use preventive intervention for parents of adolescents: Protocol for the SUPPER Project (Substance Use Prevention Promoted by Eating family meals Regularly). PLoS One. 2022 Feb 2;17(2):e0263016. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263016. PMID: 35108294; PMCID: PMC8809599.