LifeSkills Training (Botvin)

The Botvin LifeSkills Training Elementary School program is a comprehensive, dynamic, and developmentally appropriate substance abuse and violence prevention program designed for upper elementary school students. This highly effective curriculum has been proven to help increase self-esteem, develop healthy attitudes, and improve their knowledge of essential life skills – all of which promote healthy and positive personal development and mental health.

The Botvin LifeSkills Training Middle School program is a groundbreaking substance abuse and violence prevention program. LifeSkills Training is comprehensive, dynamic, and developmentally designed to promote mental health and positive youth development. In addition to helping kids resist drug, alcohol, and tobacco use, the LifeSkills Training Middle School program also supports the reduction of violence and other high-risk behaviors.

The Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) High School program is a highly interactive, skills-based program designed to promote positive health and personal development for youth in grades 9 or 10. The LST High School program uses developmentally appropriate, collaborative learning strategies to help students achieve competency in the skills that help prevent substance use, violence, and other health risk behaviors. LifeSkills Training is comprehensive, dynamic, and developmentally designed to promote mental health, social-emotional (SEL) skills and positive youth development.

This program is approved for WV Expanded School Mental Health.

Intended Outcomes:

Drug Resistance Skills:
Enables young people to recognize and challenge common misconceptions about tobacco, alcohol and other drug use. Through coaching and practice, they learn information and practical ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug use) resistance skills for dealing with peers and media pressure to engage in ATOD use.

Personal Self-Management Skills:
Students learn how to examine their self-image and its effects on behavior; set goals and keep track of personal progress; identify everyday decisions and how they may be influenced by others; analyze problem situations, and consider the consequences of each alternative solution before making decisions; reduce stress and anxiety, and look at personal challenges in a positive light.

General Social Skills:
Students develop the necessary skills to overcome shyness, communicate effectively and avoid misunderstandings, initiate and carry out conversations, handle social requests, utilize both verbal and nonverbal assertiveness skills to make or refuse requests, and recognize that they have choices other than aggression or passivity when faced with tough situations.

Continuum of Care:
Universal Prevention

Topic Areas:
Anxiety, Behavioral Health/Mental Health, Disruptive Behaviors, Physical Health, Substance Use

Childhood (4-12), Teen/Adolescent (13-18)

Geographic Locations:
Rural, Urban

Delivery Settings:
Community-Based, School-Based

Cultural Considerations:
Significant and well-articulated attention was given to disparities in outcomes

This program is intended for students grades 3-10

There are no minimum qualifications to implement this program, however, the following is a list of common program providers:

  • classroom teachers
  • school counselors
  • prevention specialists
  • mental health professionals
  • social workers
  • community youth educators
  • law enforcement officers
  • older peer leaders


Is Training Required?

Who can provide the required training?
While training is not required, it is highly recommended in order to achieve optimal program results. Training increases the effectiveness of the program and assists providers to develop implementation strategies for the programs comfort and fit in individual sites. There are both on-site and online training formats available. Please visit this following link for more training information:

Program Costs (materials, training, etc.):
Yes, refer to program website

Program/Practice Website:

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research:

Botvin, G. J., Griffin, K. W., & Nichols, T. D. (2006). Preventing Youth Violence and Delinquency through a Universal School-Based Prevention Approach. Prevention Science, 7(4), 403–408.

Botvin, G.J., Griffin, K.W., Williams, C. (2015). Preventing Daily Substance Use among High School Students Using a Cognitive-Behavioral Competence Enhancement Approach. World Journal of Preventive Medicine, 3(3):48-53.

Botvin, Gilbert J., Eli Baker, Linda Dusenbury, Elizabeth M. Botvin, and Tracy Diaz Nichols. 1995. “Long-Term Follow-Up Results of a Randomized Drug Abuse Prevention Trial in a White Middle-Class Population.” Journal of the American Medical Association 273(14):1106–12.

Griffin, Kenneth W., Gilbert J. Botvin, Tracy Diaz Nichols, and Margaret M. Doyle. 2003. “Effectiveness of a Universal Drug Abuse Prevention Approach for Youth at High Risk for Substance Use Initiation.” Preventive Medicine 36:1–7.

Smith, Edward A., John D. Swisher, Judith R. Vicary, Lori J. Bechtel, Daphne Minner, Kimberly L. Henry, and Raymond Palmer. 2004 “Evaluation of LifeSkills Training and Infused-Life Skills Training in a Rural Setting: Outcomes at 2 Years.” Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education 48(1):51–70.

Spoth, R., Trudeau, L., Redmond, C., Shin, C. (2014). Replication RCT of early universal prevention effects on young adult substance misuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(6):949-963.

Spoth, Richard L.; G. Kevin Randall; Linda Trudeau; Chungyeol Shin; and Cleve Redmond. 2008. “Substance Use Outcomes 5½ Years Past Baseline for Partnership-Based, Family–School Preventive Interventions.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence 96:57–68.

Velasco V., Griffin, K.W., Botvin, G.J., and Corrado Celata and Gruppo LST Lombardia. (2017). Preventing Adolescent Substance Use Through an Evidence-Based Program: Effects of the Italian Adaptation of Life Skills Training. Prevention Science.

Williams, C., Griffin, K.W., Mehta, R.K. & Botvin, G.J. (2021).Testing an evidence-based drug abuse and violence preventive approach adapted for youth in juvenile justice diversionary settings.. Health Justice 9, 3.

Zollinger, Terrell W., Robert M. Saywell Jr., Carolyn M. Muegge, J.S. Wooldridge, S.F. Cummings, and V.A. Caine. 2003. “Impacts of the LifeSkills Training Curriculum on Middle School Students’ Tobacco Use in Marion County, Indiana, 1997–2000.” Journal of School Health 73(9):338–46.

Well-Supported by Research

WV Rating:
Well-Supported by Research
»WV Ratings Info

Rationale for Rating:

LifeSkills Training had a large body of research with significant outcomes in multiple domains across very large randomized sample sizes and included some longitudinal study. We noted delayed onset or a lack of cigarette use (prevention) was a significant outcome across multiple studies among a variety of other outcomes. All research reviewed and the associated findings are for middle and high school students (no elementary) though LifeSkills Training by Botvin advertises modules for grades 3-10 (approximate age range of 8-16+).

Contraindications or Concerns:
None identified

Other Registries/Ratings

The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare:
Well-Supported by Research Evidence

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development:
Model +

Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness:

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide:
Effective - More than one study

Washington State Institute for Public Policy:
Found on the registry. See link for more information.

Washington State Institute for Public Policy Registry Link: