• By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Monday 14th September, 2015

Turning anxiety prevention into a “win-win” for students and schools

Schools seem an obvious place to prevent anxiety and other, less common emotional problems among youth. Yet persuading teaching staff to make precious curriculum time available can prove difficult. Might a program that reduces test and exam anxieties prove the key to opening classroom doors? Chronic anxiety is among the most frequently found emotional difficulties among young people, linked to und…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Tuesday 11th August, 2015

Parenting programs and children’s mental health: are we missing a dimension?

Quality of parenting has long been recognized as a crucial influence on childhood behavior and overall mental health. But could parenting interventions increase their value by paying more attention to children’s choices, initiative taking and sense of autonomy? Preliminary research in Canada makes the case for further investigation.Drawing on decades of evidence linking authoritative parenting t…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Monday 20th July, 2015

How Australia’s decision makers use evidence

In a study of Australian local government, public health decision makers said that they relied more on community views than on research evidence, and more on data produced internally than that published in peer-reviewed journals. What stops them from making decisions informed by more academic evidence?Respondents told researchers that a major barrier to using evidence was the lack of time. Low acc…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Monday 29th June, 2015

How to alter attitudes to smacking: show parents the facts

Many parents who believe in corporal punishment are unaware of the psychological as well as physical harm that spanking causes children. Exposing them to the facts provides a quick and easy way of persuading some, at least, to change their minds.A research team in Dallas, Texas investigated how young single people and parents would respond to on-line information about a growing fund of evidence li…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Wednesday 17th June, 2015

What leads to high fidelity? The mystery remains

Programs usually work better if they are implemented as the designers intended. So which teachers are most likely to do this? A recent study of the Responsive Classroom approach found little direct relationship between fidelity and teachers’ experience, education, or skills. But when they looked at teachers’ engagement with training, they found one tantalizing clue.For a classroom intervention…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Friday 12th June, 2015

Child protection service seeks culture change to combat “complex trauma” cases

Complex, multi-faceted problems faced by abused and neglected children demand well-considered, multi-faceted solutions. Expert help and care are essential, but no single activity is likely to prove sufficient in itself.Recognizing this, social work and other professionals in the US State of Massachusetts are attempting an ambitious transformation of services for children whose “complex trauma”…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Wednesday 03rd June, 2015

Life skills strategy aims for delayed first-use of legal substances

Alcohol and tobacco use are legal for adults in most countries around the world. Preventive interventions with children and young people must realistically focus on delaying first use and promoting responsible use rather than abstinence, according to the originator of a life skills program in Germany.Karina Weichold, a developmental psychologist at the University of Jena, notes in the German conte…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Wednesday 27th May, 2015

Improving outcomes with a science-based approach to prevention

Recent research suggests that the Communities that Care (CTC) approach improves youth outcomes by encouraging communities to use a science-based approach to prevention. The CTC model is what’s known as an “operating system” for community-based prevention. Through five stages of implementation, the model intends to give coalitions of community leaders the tools that they need to successfully…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Thursday 21st May, 2015

Early births need early intervention to reduce parental stress

Parents whose babies are born prematurely often come under sudden and lasting stress, with potential implications for their child’s later development, including emotional and behavior problems. Norwegian researchers have demonstrated how early intervention can help. The premature arrival of a baby can bring health and development concerns that undermine the intense joy normally felt by parents.…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Friday 15th May, 2015

Systematic reviews: are they really weighing all the evidence?

Where randomized control trials are viewed as a “gold standard” for research, some have called systematic reviews a “platinum standard.” Reviews aim to be the go-to source for policymakers interested in a particular topic. So it’s crucial that they give more credit to robust study designs, and less credit to weaker ones.A recent appraisal of SRs suggests that some do – and some don’t…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Wednesday 06th May, 2015

KEEPing stress and problem behaviors down in foster families

Constructing an evidence base for prevention programs takes time and patience. But accumulating results can transform their practical value for service planners – as demonstrated by the latest study of KEEP (Keeping Foster Parents Trained and Supported), an established parenting intervention for foster carers.Devised by researchers at the Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC), KEEP drew on decade…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Friday 24th April, 2015

When is Incredible Years most effective? The results of 50 studies provide an answer

Incredible Years Parent Training (IYPT) has been studied time and again for its potential to treat and prevent children’s behavior problems. Many studies have found that it is effective. Some have found that it isn’t. A new meta-analysis draws the evidence together to determine when IY works best.IYPT is among the best-known of parenting programs. It has been used widely and studied internati…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Thursday 16th April, 2015

Parenting skills programs: a gift that keeps on giving?

Effective parenting skills programs are known to have enduring positive effects on children’s health and wellbeing. Research now shows how the long-term benefits can include better attitudes when it comes to raising their own children. New findings – courtesy of research conducted over 15 years in Phoenix, Arizona – accord with existing evidence about the way parenting in one generation infl…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Saturday 04th April, 2015

How team experience promotes implementation fidelity

Better results happen when therapists stick to the program. So the question follows: what helps therapists adhere to treatment protocols? In a recent Swedish study of Multisystemic Therapy, the more experienced the team as a whole, the better the adherence. In fact, the level of team experience mattered for adherence even when individual therapists’ levels of experience were taken into account…

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  • By Laura Whybra
  • Posted on Wednesday 25th March, 2015

In implementation, “how well” is as important as “how much”

Most studies of implementation look at whether facilitators cover the material in the program manual. But they tend to neglect the role of competence in delivery. A recent study of a school anti-bullying program found that teachers who taught with warmth and praise, and who covered the material clearly, were also the ones who got the best results. Bullying prevention programs in schools typically…

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