• By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Friday 20th March, 2015
  • Article type Archive

'Go-to' mental health training helps schools link students to the right kind of help

Untreated mental health problems in youth can have damaging lifelong consequences. Training staff in schools to identify students with psychiatric disorders, offer support and connect them with specialist help has the potential to prevent the accumulation of long-term negative effects.Most mental disorders can be diagnosed before young people reach their mid-20s, so it is not surprising that schoo…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Thursday 12th March, 2015
  • Article type Archive

How Life Skills Training builds on a lifetime of research

Life Skills Training (LST) is a substance misuse prevention program used by schools in all 50 US States and 35 different countries. What explains its popularity? Thirty years of careful attention to evidence and rigorous evaluation, say its originators.Reflecting on LST’s long-term development and achievements, public health professors Gilbert Botvin and Kenneth Griffin of Cornell University, hi…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Friday 06th March, 2015
  • Article type Archive

Improving parenting through the internet

Parenting training programs have proved helpful for parents or children and teenagers with behavior problems. But getting parents to come to programs is a challenge. What if the program could come to them? A recent study put a training program online and found promising results. Parents who completed the training reported improvements in their own discipline style, self-efficacy, and behavioral in…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Tuesday 03rd March, 2015
  • Article type Archive

From Safe Dates to safer states: re-assessing ways to prevent youth violence

Devising new and better interventions is not always the answer to intractable social problems like youth violence and weapon carrying. Sometimes it is important to look more carefully at existing initiatives – as demonstrated by a re-assessment of the Safe Dates program.Developing new programs can be expensive and becomes harder to do in straitened economic times. So it is hardly surprising that…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Wednesday 25th February, 2015
  • Article type Archive

Getting to outcomes on underage drinking – but still some way to go

Laws and strategies against underage drinking are unlikely to prove effective by themselves unless actively applied by communities. How far does it help them to have a toolkit for implementation?The RAND Corporation’s Getting To Outcomes is a leading example of a toolkit that has been applied usefully to social concerns such as teen pregnancy, drug misuse and homelessness, as well as the promoti…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Thursday 19th February, 2015
  • Article type Archive

When 800,000 families can’t wait for clinical trials

More than three quarters of a million parents receive parent training through child welfare services in the US each year. The good news is that there are a handful of well-tested programs for parents of young children. The bad news is that, given low budgets and a tradition of home-grown programs, it’s not always practical for child welfare agencies to use them. A new review suggests a way forwa…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Tuesday 17th February, 2015
  • Article type Archive

Which families gain most from home visiting?

While home visiting programs for parents are widely agreed to be a good way to improve outcomes for their babies, not all evaluations have been positive. Does it help to know more about families that are most likely to benefit?For researchers in Oregon, the answer is a firm ‘yes’ following a study suggesting that home visiting may be more effective when targeting families exposed to multiple r…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Thursday 12th February, 2015
  • Article type Archive

A program desert for military children

Children from military families face different problems to their classmates. Their wellbeing is vital; so is it being monitored in schools?There are a number of challenges that children have to contend with when a parent serves in the military. They worry that their mother or father will be hurt in combat; they may not see their parent for months; and they typically have to move house often. All t…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Tuesday 10th February, 2015
  • Article type Archive

Heading off abuse for low-income children

Early Head Start, serving more than 100,000 children, is the US’s largest early childhood program. It is designed to promote the emotional and cognitive development of infants and toddlers from low-income households, and to support their parents. A new study suggests that it may also have a positive side effect on an outcome it wasn’t designed to target: child maltreatment.Earlier studies of t…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Friday 06th February, 2015
  • Article type Archive

How to draw broader conclusions from randomized trials

Randomized controlled trials are the best way to discover the effects of a program. But there’s a catch. RCTs show only how the program worked with the people who agreed to participate in the trial – and those people may be a very different mix than the population for whom the program is really intended. Here, researchers discuss a statistical solution to the problem.Randomized controlled tria…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Monday 02nd February, 2015
  • Article type Archive

“Unplugged” schools program shows promise preventing substance use, but leaves gender issues unresolved

Recognizing that schools can play an important part to play in preventing harmful use of tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs is the easy part for policy makers. Finding interventions that are both practicable and “work” is a whole lot harder – as illustrated by the trial of a substance-abuse prevention program across schools in seven European countries.The positive headline news provided by r…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Wednesday 28th January, 2015
  • Article type Archive

Reunifying families: Can blending family services with out-of-home residential stays help youth at risk of offending?

Returning from residential care to home is often a bumpy ride for both families and young people. A Boys Town program that aims to smooth the transition shows early promise as a way to keep youth in school and out of trouble.Young people who end up in residential care face a tough time when they go back home. They usually return to the environment they left – an environment that may include high…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Wednesday 21st January, 2015
  • Article type Archive

Healthy communities: cutting risk, increasing protection

The Communities That Care program has been shown to reduce risk factors for youth problem behavior. But the absence of risk is not the same as the presence of protection. Now a new study suggests that CTC also increases protective factors like social skills, healthy friendships, and recognition for good behavior.Kids grow up in communities. The contexts of neighborhood, family, school, and friends…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Monday 19th January, 2015
  • Article type Archive

For better academic skills, work first on social and emotional skills

INSIGHTS Into Children’s Temperament (INSIGHTS) is an intervention aimed at helping young children in low-income schools to manage their emotions. By doing so, it hopes to increase children’s attention span and reduce disruptive behavior. The theory is that this will lead to improved school performance. Now the results from a new randomized trial are in. The study found that INSIGHTS substan…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Tuesday 13th January, 2015
  • Article type Archive

Kids find the power to resist bullying and victimization

Child victimization, abuse and bullying and their harmful consequences are among the most troubling public health issues of our time. A safety skills program in California shows how elementary schools can play an active part in safeguarding children.The Kidpower Everyday Child Safety-Skills Program (ESSP) was devised in response to worrying statistics, such as those estimating that 678,000 childre…

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