• By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Saturday 30th May, 2009

Show me the money and I’ll show you what works

In an unmistakably symbolic gesture, Society for Prevention Research president Zili Sloboda yesterday sacrificed her conference address to spotlight the Obama administration's response to the Institute of Medicine's argument for investment in US mental health. Sloboda gave way first to Mary Ellen O’Connell, study director of the March report, who laid out the key findings and recommendations tha…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Thursday 28th May, 2009

"If the one you’re with hits you twice, you oughta ditch ‘em"

Challenge conventional wisdom with empirical evidence about what really happens in families, and researchers and prevention scientists interested in the problem of domestic violence risk becoming the butt of aggression, if not violence, themselves. Sociologist Murray Straus, for example, who has devoted three decades of his life to analyzing and preventing violence in families, has been shouted of…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Wednesday 27th May, 2009

Preventionists unpick the ties that bind

From the first, prevention science has focused on relationship questions, especially those to do with the essential bond between parent and child. But there are many kinds of relationships across the lifespan and this year’s Society for Prevention Research meeting is attempting to spread the net.Planning has been led by Deborah Capaldi, a research scientist at the Oregon Social Learning Center,…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Wednesday 27th May, 2009

Therapy passes NZ test but has yet to stand trial

A first New Zealand trial and follow-up study of Multisystemic Therapy suggests a sizable impact on antisocial behavior among a population of ethnic white, Maori and Samoan adolescents.The joint study by researchers at Massey University and the University of Central Queensland, Australia, points to improvements in rates of caution, arrest and conviction.Developed in the US at the University of Sou…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Saturday 23rd May, 2009

When prevention is knowing better what not to do

Can it still be such a good idea to take a group of policy makers, managers and practitioners from the UK to the US to learn about evidence based programs? All that carbon to offset in the name of better outcomes for children!I’ve been a strong advocate of this kind of exchange. I've been making regular commuting trips across the Atlantic for the last ten years, worrying increasingly about the w…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Thursday 21st May, 2009

A taste of the confusion of prevention in the raw

Take the DVD wrapper and the handbook graphics at face value and you might imagine that prevention programs belong only in the studio world of The Truman Show, where everything is foil-wrapped: neighborhoods, facilities, people, problems.So it was reassuring for the posse of West Coast study tourists to be reminded that once out of the box most prevention programs are delivered by ordinary people,…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Thursday 21st May, 2009

What happens to science when program meets product?

As prevention scientists go in search of a step-change in the rate of adoption of evidence-based programs, they face a classic dilemma.  For the very best of reasons they want market penetration, but in a country that holds free market competition so dear they can’t really hope to achieve it without relying on the expertise of publishers and broadcasters – in other words, on non-scientific…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Wednesday 20th May, 2009

Washington learns how to keep the faith

As fidelity is absorbed into the accepted wisdom surrounding successful program implementation, so monitoring it for quality has the potential to become a growth industry, research at the University of Washington suggests.Abby Fagan at the Social Development Research Group has identified four key elements: adherence to core content; correct dosage as to the number, length and frequency of sessions…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Friday 15th May, 2009

Should the poor clinician get more blame?

Can well-trained, well-intentioned practitioners make children’s lives worse than they already are? To judge from evidence emerging from Washington on the impact of Functional Family Therapy, yes they can.Barney Barnoski at Washington State Institute for Public Policy has been examining the impact on child outcomes of proficient and less proficient clinicians implementing the evidenced based pro…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Thursday 14th May, 2009

Losing sleep over the "do-loop" in Seattle.

After close encounters in Seattle with Multisystemic Therapy and Functional Family Therapy, our study tourists have begun tussling with the concept of fidelity.It has become routine for developers and practitioners on both sides of the Atlantic to stress the need to deliver programs exactly as they were designed to be delivered.When the goal is to improve children’s health and development there…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Thursday 14th May, 2009

How Washington put therapy on the menu

It can be hard to get even seasoned practitioners to show much interest in individual proven programs, and, when they do, they often suffer from the zeal of the converted: they become obsessed with their discovery to the exclusion of all else. The bigger and potentially more profitable challenge is to make sure a number of programs are recognized as the components of a coherent package with the…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Wednesday 13th May, 2009

Do Black kids with working moms do better than White kids?

Feminists and politicians interested in moving moms into the workforce to lighten the welfare load have something in common. They bristle at any suggestion that children of working mothers don’t do as well. This being the case, findings from a recent US study have plenty to annoy both groups – and anyone else likely to take umbrage at the mention of racial or ethnic differences.Lawrence Berger…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Tuesday 12th May, 2009

Larceny is the sincerest form of flattery

Copying other people’s good ideas is one of the fundamental drivers behind human progress. Just occasionally it may amount to theft; usually it boils down to one group innocently trying to find out how another group solved a problem. The imperative might be to do with meeting a challenge of mass production, perfecting a new surgical technique or learning about the properties of new materials in…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Saturday 09th May, 2009

Taking a longer time a-growing

It is generally accepted in the West that a distinct developmental period called “early adulthood” has been shaped by accumulating changes in societal dynamics during the past hundred years or so.One of its principal investigators is University of Pennsylvania Professor of Sociology Frank Furstenberg, whose more recent studies have been exploring the consequences of the more protracted journe…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Thursday 07th May, 2009

Stress study is given US press test

There's no shortage of evidence to suggest there is a causal link between poverty and chronic stress and between chronic stress and all manner of intergenerational setbacks.During the last decade or so, the research has been sharpened by improving understanding of brain chemistry and the physiological indicators of cognitive processes.One spin-off has been a new variety of political debate which m…

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