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Ingeborg Rossow and Bergljot Baklien

Applying mixed methods in evaluation of a community prevention project: reflections on strengths and challenges

AIMS - In this study we report on experiences with applying mixed methods in an evaluation study and present reflections on strengths and challenges in this respect. What was done in order to integrate qualitative and quantitative methods? What were the main benefits? What kinds of difficulties were encountered. METHODS - The study is a case report based on the researchers' own experiences from applying qualitative process evaluation and quantitative effect evaluation in a comprehensive evaluation of a complex community prevention project. RESULTS - Findings from qualitative methods were used to initiate further effect evaluation (sequential integration) and to support and explain findings from the effect evaluation (simultaneous integration). The main benefits were a more nuanced and comprehensive evaluation integrated into a common evaluation report. The integration of qualitative and quantitative methods presented a number of challenges, particularly in integrating the analyses and writing a common report, due to significant differences in research traditions. CONCLUSION - The use of mixed methods in this evaluation study was very useful and necessary, particularly to explain the findings and to provide information for future prevention projects. However, essential differences between process evaluation and effect evaluation presented challenges.

Open access

Ingeborg Rossow and Mats Ramstedt

Abstract

BACKGROUND - There is a renewed interest in alcohol’s harm to others (AHTO), and survey studies in the general population are often used to estimate the extent of harm, to address the severity and variety of harms, and to identify the victims of such harm. While cross-sectional survey studies are attractive in several respects, they also entail several methodological challenges. AIM - We discuss some of these issues, paying particular attention to the problems of causal attribution, transferability, survey data collection and range of harms. CONCLUSIONS - We offer some suggestions for study design to enhance causal inferences from studies examining alcohol’s harm to others.

Open access

Geir Scott Brunborg, Elin K. Bye and Ingeborg Rossow

Abstract

AIMS – The aim of the current study was to test empirically two predictions from Skog’s theory of collectivity of drinking behavior, using time series data from Norwegian adolescents. The two specific predictions were: 1) A change in mean alcohol consumption is positively associated with a change in the proportion of heavy drinkers, and 2) A change in mean alcohol consumption is positively associated with a change at all consumption levels. DATA & METHODS – The present analyses are based on ESPAD data collected from Norwegian adolescents (15–16 years) in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011. The relationship between mean consumption and the proportion of heavy drinkers was analyzed by regressing the proportions of heavy drinkers at each time point on the consumption means at each time point. In order to assess whether adolescents at all consumption levels, from light to heavy drinkers, changed collectively as mean consumption changed, we regressed log-transformed consumption means on the log-transformed percentile values (P25, P50, P75, P90 and P95). The analysis was restricted to adolescents who had consumed alcohol in the last 30 days (total n = 7554). RESULTS – The results showed a strong relationship between mean alcohol consumption and the proportion of heavy drinkers. An increase in mean consumption was also associated with an increase at all consumption levels, from light to heavy drinkers. CONCLUSION – The results of the current study are in line with the theory of collectivity of drinking behavior. The findings of this study suggest that by reducing the total consumption of alcohol among adolescents, consumption and risk of harm may be reduced in all consumer groups.

Open access

Ingeborg Rossow, Marianne Bang Hansen and Elisabet Esbjerg Storvoll

Abstract

AIMS - To examine whether the ban and complete removal of slot machines in Norway in 2007 may have led to: a) changes in gambling behaviour and changes in prevalence of problem gambling among adolescents, and b) changes in gambling behaviour among adolescent problem gamblers. DATA & METHODS - Two school surveys were conducted, one before (in 2006) and one after the intervention (in 2008), comprising students aged 13 to 18 years (net samples = 4,912 in 2006 and 3,855 in 2008). Identical measures of gambling behaviour and problem gambling were obtained in both surveys. RESULTS - After the intervention, a small proportion reported that they had changed their gambling behaviour, mainly in terms of having stopped gambling. Comparisons of self-reports of gambling behaviour showed that slot machine gambling had decreased significantly, while gambling on other games had increased, yet frequent gambling on any game had decreased after the intervention. However, the change in prevalence of at-risk and problem gambling differed across instruments. The prevalence of self-perceived gambling problems had decreased whereas the prevalence of at-risk and problem gambling as assessed by SOGS-RA had increased. Among at-risk and problem gamblers frequent gambling and perceived gambling problems were reported less frequently in 2008 compared to 2006. CONCLUSION - The ban and removal of slot machines in Norway was succeeded by a decrease in frequent gambling among adolescents in general as well as among at-risk and problem gamblers.