STAGE 4. Selecting the theoretical approach

What steps should be completed?

Step 1: Select the theoretical approach or approaches on which the intervention will be based


The rationale for a prevention programme or a risk reduction programme should consider three basic issues that have been the subject of extensive research:

  1. Knowledge of risk factors and protective factors.
  2. Theoretical approaches explaining the nature of drug use and, therefore, what should be faced and/or modified in the target population and/or its environment, in order to avoid or delay the onset of drug use and/or to reduce the risks associated with it (risk factors and protective factors would be like the pieces of a puzzle, and the theoretical model/approach the clues to compose it).
  3. Available evidence on effective strategies and programmes, i.e. knowledge of what works and what does not work in prevention (this last question is addressed in 5 stage of OneStep@aTime). See stage 5

Different efforts have been made to organize or classify theories and theoretical approaches, among which the one carried out by Becoña stands out. The following theoretical approaches include those that have been most successful in explaining drug use and the influence that different risk factors and protective factors have on this behavior:

  • Jessor and Jessor’s Problem Behaviour Theory. +
  • Catalano and Hawkins’ Social Development Model. +
  • Kandel’s Evolutionary Model. +
  • Oetting’s Primary Socialization Theory. +
  • Health Belief Model. +
  • Fishbein and Ajzen’s Theory of Reasoned Action and Theory of Planned Behaviour. +
  • Bandura’s Social Learning or Cognitive Learning Theory. +
  • Theory of social norms. +
  • Public Health Model. +
  • Health Promotion Model. +
  • Model to Reduce the Risks Associated with Drug Use. +