Use of alcohol and illicit drugs by adolescents is an important problem worldwide.
To undertake a systematic review of mentoring in preventing/reducing adolescents' alcohol and drug use.
We searched 8 multidisciplinary electronic databases, the gray literature, and reference lists of included studies.
STUDY ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA, PARTICIPANTS, AND INTERVENTIONS:
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of mentoring in adolescents to prevent/reduce alcohol or drug use.
Six RCTs were included in this review. Four RCTs provided evidence on mentoring and alcohol use. The 2 that could be pooled showed less alcohol use by mentored youth. Six RCTs on mentoring and drug use were identified, 2 of which provided some evidence of the effect of mentoring in reducing drug use.
Only 1 RCT was at low risk of bias for randomization. None of the studies stated they concealed allocation. Of the 6 included studies, 1 was at high risk and 5 at unclear risk for attrition.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS OF KEY FINDINGS:
Four RCTs provided evidence on mentoring and alcohol use, and the 2 that could be pooled showed less use by mentored youth. The 6 RCTs that provided evidence on drug use could not be pooled. Two did provide some evidence that mentoring is associated with less drug use. Very few well-designed studies evaluate the effects of mentoring on adolescent drug and alcohol use.
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