Wednesday, may 25, 2005 7: 00 am – 5: 00 pm registration

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THE DAILY CHALLENGES INVENTORY: ASSESSING CHILDREN´S RESPONSES TO CHALLENGES. Paul Flaspohler1, Ron Prinz2, 1Miami University, Oxford, OH United States; 2University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC United States

This poster will present findings from research undertaken in an effort to explore fundamental dimensions for the way that children respond to daily challenges. Two aims guided this research: (1) examination of the psychometric characteristics of the Daily Challenges Inventory (DCI) and theoretical constructs of the coping-competence model and (2) exploration of the interrelationship of the DCI scales with wellness and disorder. The DCI is a parent-report measure developed to test facets of the coping-competence model (Blechman, Prinz, & Dumas, 1995), a conceptualization of children´s coping that applies across a broad range of situational challenges and is not dependent on a predominant focus on marked stressors or major life events. The model proposes three dimensions (modes) for classifying responses: Antisocial (against the problem/others), Asocial (away from the problem/others), and Prosocial (with the problem/others). The model proposes three dimensions (domains) for classifying challenges: Affective, Social, and Achievement, based on the predominance of emotional, interpersonal, or task-oriented demands. The DCI was developed to assess first grade children´s frequency of use of response modes across developmentally salient challenges in each of the challenge domains. Parents and teachers of first grade children (n = 206) completed the DCI, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL). Parent ratings on DCI scales were shown to be associated differentially with competence in academic, social, and emotional domains. Specifically, Antisocial responding related to conduct problems, Asocial responding related to emotional functioning, and Prosocial responding related to prosocial behavior. Latent variables indicating distinctions based on the role of communication and language within responses were discovered within each of the DCI scales. Five factors (Asocial, Prosocial, Defiant, Antisocial-Social, and Antisocial-Instrumental) emerged but could not be confirmed through factor analysis of parent report latent variables. Though validity was not definitively established, patterns of systematic discrepancies between parent and teacher ratings of the same scale may have contributed to inability to support the validity of DCI scales. These discrepancies include more favorable ratings by teachers (compared with parents), poor concordance between parent and teacher reports on measures with affective/emotional content, and greater conflation of the Antisocial and Asocial dimensions in teacher reports. The poster will present these findings and describe plans for refinement of the DCI.



Two primary factors that influence children´s well-being are the quality of their early environments and their health status and health care in the years preceding kindergarten. These factors are interrelated: quality early learning environments promote children´s health and safety/children´s health affects their ability to learn. Yet for many children in the United States, access to quality early care and education and to quality health care is limited, posing a threat to normative development, health, and well-being.

Rural, poor families report difficulties in accessing social services, and basic care services such as doctors, dentists, and clinics for immunizations. Access to regulated child care settings is also restricted by the lack of regulated options, and the absence of public transportation. Though information is available about the health status and health care use of child care by rural, poor children, few studies have looked at rural poor children´s health related to where they spend the majority of their hours in care. Understanding the connection can help us to better make recommendations for prevention of childhood illness by addressing influences in the home and in formal and informal child care settings.

The data for this work come from a multi-state study, “Economic Well-being of Rural Low-Income Families in the Context of Welfare Reform.” Using a dataset created from interviews conducted in 2000 with 255 mothers from 20 counties in eleven states distributed across the United States, we present a demographic picture of children under 5 years and their families, including variables on race/ethnicity, income and household structure, and parental employment. Comparative analysis will examine whether the health conditions of infant/toddler and preschool-age children (including number and type of health problems, frequency of illness, immunization status and frequency of seeing a doctor) differ by child care arrangement (parental, kith and kin, and regulated care). Further analysis will investigate family use of health insurance, health care assistance and child care subsidies to detect whether public assistance is a factor in families´ child care choices and their children´s health.

This work lays the foundation for more in-depth research on the intersection between rural children´s health and their early care environments. We offer suggestions from our findings for prevention strategies for children´s health issues, child care quality, and public support for rural access to services that can be employed in the home, the child care environment, and in the community.


FROM SCIENCE THROUGH COLLABORATION TO THE HEALTHY COMMUNITY. Valentina Kranzelic Tavra1, Josipa Basic1, Martina Feric1, 1University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Recent publications in the prevention field point out the importance of science and local community collaboration in order to create conditions for healthy community development. That is, besides research, the goal of scientific project “Prevention of behavior disorders in the local community”. As we presented last year the project is conduct in Region of Istria, Croatia, and has two parallel parts – scientific research and community development. On this Conference we would like to present community development part. We work with group of 17 coordinators from 4 communities, once in two months. In the group there are community key leaders and professionals who work with children and youth. In the first year of work with the people from the community we had several meetings in which we prepare them to work on 3 main domains: epidemiology, creating database of programs and program evaluation. Those three domains will create the 4th task force – model creation and implementation. Right now mentioned three “task forces” are educated and prepared to do the work in the field. Consequently, efforts that will be made by those three “task forces” will lead to the creating and implementing the model of behavior disorders prevention in community, and furthermore the community will have the ownership of the model. Creating collaboration in this way, in other words, creating collaboration that link science and specific practice in the field, could be some kind of “guarantee” for efficacy and sustainability of the model.


RELIGIOSITY, SPIRITUALITY, AND SOCIAL NETWORK SUPPORT ON HEALTH PROMOTING BEHAVIORS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN COLLEGE STUDENTS. Oluwatosin Folorunso1, Nyquanna Manning1, Ganiat Rufai1, Jocelyn Turner-Musa1, 1Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD United States

Introduction. African Americans are at greater risk for chronic diseases and poor health outcomes. This disparity is a major health concern and it is important to understand antecedents of the problem. An evaluation of health behaviors of African American college students has shown that a significant number engage in behaviors such as unhealthy dietary behaviors, unprotected sex, tobacco and alcohol use that may lead to poor health outcomes. Therefore college provides an excellent milieu within which to explore these factors and intervene.

Several studies suggest that among the factors that may influence health behaviors among African Americans are religiosity, spirituality, and social network support. These studies suggest that adolescents and young adults who score high on measures of religiosity or spirituality or who have a supportive network are less likely to engage in health compromising behaviors. Few studies have examined these constructs in a single empirical inquiry within an African American college population. The purpose of the current study is to examine the extent to which these variables predict health-promoting behaviors among African American college students.

Method. Participants included 211 African American college students attending a historically Black university. Participants completed an instrument battery consisting of a demographic measure that included items assessing frequency of engaging in various religious behaviors; a spirituality measure, a measure of perceived social network support, and the Health Promoting Lifestyle II, which measures various dimensions of health behaviors (e.g., nutrition).

Results. Five separate simultaneous multiple regression analyses were performed to examine the extent to which the linear combination of religious behaviors, spirituality, and perceived support from caregivers, friends, and church members predict each of the criterion variables. Results suggest that these variables account for a significant amount of the variation in total health promoting behaviors, F (5,208) 11.08, p < .001, and in each of the specific health behaviors examined. Examination of standardized beta coefficients suggests that spirituality and perceived support from church members were the most robust predictors of health promoting behaviors. Perceived support from friends did not emerge as a significant predictor of health promoting behaviors.

Conclusions. Findings suggest that religious behaviors, spirituality, and social network support differentially predict health promoting behaviors among African American college students. Knowledge of such factors can aid in the development of interventions targeting specific protective factors and social fields within which to intervene.


HOW DO SOCIAL NETWORKS WORK FOR THE HEALTH OF MARGINALIZED GROUPS?. Hyoungyong Kim1, 1University of Georgia, Athens, GA United States

Research on health inequalities has demonstrated that health outcomes appear to relate with the level and distribution of socioeconomic status within society. Also, individual health status is determined not only by personal and service resources but also by social environment. In this study, it is hypothesized that social networks mediate the relationship between socioeconomic status and individual health.

To estimate the mediating factors associated with poor health among multiple vulnerable groups, which were the aged (>65 years), the poor (less than family income of $20,000), racial minority groups (Hispanic, African American, Asian), this study make use of the data obtained from the Social Capital Benchmark Survey (N = 29,233). Social network variables were measured by three different types of composite indices; close friendship, network diversity, and organizational involvement. And outcome variable was measured by self-rated health status. Data analyses included descriptive statistics, bivariate correlations, multiple regressions, and path analyses with three social network variables.

Results revealed that age, income, and experience of racial discrimination were strongly correlated with self-rated health status. In turn, all of network variables were associated with health status. When individual and community level characteristics are controlled, the multivariate analysis regression analyses showed that the levels of close friendship was significantly related with the level of health among all three marginalized groups, but network diversity and organizational involvement were associated with health status only of the elderly group. The final path model fits the data well evidenced by omnibus fit index and chi-square difference test. Close friendship, network diverse, and organizational involvement account for 19% of the variation in the self rate health. Standardized path coefficients showed that associations of social disadvantages with self-rated health were largely mediated by social network variables.

Findings of this study empirically support that social network are closely associated with overall health status of the vulnerable populations. Social workers and policy makers should understand how social network and community trust play a role in the provision of help. Development of macro level interventions designed to improve social capital and neighborhood strength will be discussed.


PRELIMINARY FINDINGS ON THE ACCEPTANCE OF AN ALCOHOL RISK REDUCTION PROGRAM AMONG AIR FORCE PERSONNEL. Gregory Goldstein1, Cynthia Simon-Arndt2, Suzanne Hurtado2, 1United States Air Force, Edwards AFB, CA United States; 2Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA United States

Health promotion messages must be received and accepted in order to be effective. Several factors contribute to message rejection, including lack of perceived relevance, perceived susceptibility, and lack of perceived efficacy of the message contents. Among the measures of how well a message is received is compatibility of the message with the characteristics of the target audience and the desire to communicate that message with others. The data presented here examines how well-received a program designed to create greater awareness of individual alcohol consumption risk levels is accepted by Air Force personnel.

The Squadron Alcohol Skills Intervention Curriculum (SASIC) is designed to teach military personnel the difference between safe and risky alcohol use behaviors. While it is preventative in nature, it is not designed specifically for “at risk” service members, but rather for a general Air Force population. The focus is on understanding the effects of alcohol, in order to make more informed choices about consumption, thus enhancing overall unit readiness.

This preliminary study is based upon a sample of 67 airmen who responded to follow-up questionnaires after completing their 16-hour SASIC curriculum. Participants were queried on the level of support they had for the program and how often they shared the course information with others. Participants rated the program overall as an 8.8 on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the most positive score. An overwhelming majority (97%) of program participants were in favor of the program continuing at their base, and 94% of the sample recommended that the program be adopted and taught throughout the Air Force. Sixty-four percent of the participants reported that after receiving the training, they then trained their subordinates. A large majority (77%) of participants talked to their friends (military or civilian) about the course and in fact shared with them specific information in the materials such as how to drink safely or how to calculate money spent on alcohol.

These findings indicate a great deal of support for the SASIC program. The overall ratings of the program in conjunction with the desire to share the information learned, indicates acceptance of the program messages. Perhaps, most telling to the issue of receptivity is the percentage of respondents who would like to see the program expand throughout the Air Force at a time when programs not considered mission-specific might be construed as time consuming or extra work.


INTERVENTION EFFECTS ON TEACHER-RATED PROSOCIAL AND PROBLEM BEHAVIORS AMONG AFRICAN AMERICAN YOUTH GRADES 5-8. Robert Jagers1, Bazle Hossain1, Kim Sydnor1, Brian Flay2, 1Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD United States; 2University of Illinois At Chicago, Chicago, IL United States

This individual poster session addresses the SPR conference special topic themes of promotion of well-being, middle childhood development as well as the cross cutting themes of cultural sensitivity and efficacy trials. It presents teacher data gathered during the Aban Aya Youth Project (AAYP), a comprehensive, culturally sensitive, risk prevention program for urban African American youth grades 5-8. AAYP randomly assigned 12 schools to either of two intervention conditions or an attention-placebo control. Fifth grade cohorts were enrolled and followed through eighth grade in order to test the efficacy of a classroom curriculum (SDC) and a family/school/community program (S/CP) designed to reduce violence, unsafe sex and drug use. Initial findings indicated that, compared to boys in the control condition, boys in the intervention conditions had reduced growth of violence, unsafe sex (including increased condom use), substance use, and school delinquency. These findings were most pronounced in the S/CP.

This study used teacher ratings to discern whether intervention effects found using youth self-reports might be detected through other data sources. A series of random effects regression models were generated to assess changes in social skills (prosocial behavior, assertiveness and frustration tolerance) and problem behavior (aggression, withdrawal and acting out), controlling for gender, baseline scores and teacher-rated student engagement. Significant intervention effects emerged for prosocial behavior. Effects for frustration tolerance and assertiveness approached statistical significance. Baseline scale scores and program engagement were significant covariates. There were no significant effects for the problem behaviors.

Results are discussed in terms of gender effects in preventive interventions, the need for multi-informant process and outcome data and the prospects for an AAYP effectiveness trail.



Context: Recent interest in character education as a viable means of promoting children's well-being in scholastic settings benefits from a partnership with other educational theory and practice, such as multiple intelligences theory (Gardner, 1983; 1993) and social-emotional learning (SEL). Objective: Determine the plausibility of programming that presents an intersection of said three constructs. The following question was addressed: Will more students successfully internalize the principles of character education and SEL when they are allowed to use arts education and the multiple intelligences (visual-spatial and musical) as a conduit to engage in project development? Method: The pragmatic case study design (Fishman, 1999) was utilized, for its emphasis on the needs of the client and community in creating and documenting programming initiatives. Using this approach, a one-year initiative to pilot projects that integrated multiple intelligences theory, social-emotional learning, and character education in high school arts classrooms was assessed using student and teacher interviews and evaluation of student projects. The "Laws of Life", cornerstones of character education, were used as a framework for all projects generated. Sample: High school arts students in a high-risk, urban school district (N=7,462) participating in a district-wide SEL iniative. No arts classrooms had previously been involved in this initiative, and this was the high school's first encounter with the SEL curriculum. The final sample included students ages 15-18, in two visual arts and one vocal music classroom, n=50. Results: In both the visual arts and vocal music classrooms, through collaboration with arts teachers and students, projects were created that authentically reflected the Laws of Life, SEL, and visual-spatial and musical intelligences. This initiative was a successful first step in addressing SEL and character education through facilitation of a more "natural" expression of these concepts using the multiple intelligences. Both students and teachers expressed enhanced receptivity toward and engagement with the concepts behind SEL and character education when they were expressed through the arts. Conclusions: It is important to consider the needs of all students when creating programming that addresses the essential concepts of SEL and character education. Through the use of constructs such as multiple intelligences theory, which offers varied means of learning educational content, more students will be engaged. Moreover, the desired end-states of these initiatives, enhanced well-being and social-emotional competence (Elias, 1997) can be more readily reached.


ASSESSMENT OF CHANGE IN PREVENTION EFFORTS AIMED AT HELPING YOUTH MANAGE THEIR OWN BEHAVIOR. Wendy Garrard1, Shelagh Mulvaney1, 1Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN United States

Social problem-solving, self-monitoring, and self-regulation are common themes in interventions aimed at promoting well-being in children and adolescents. Two disciplines which commonly employ these program components as cognitive and behavioral change mechanisms are school-based prevention (e.g., conflict resolution) and individual management of chronic health issues (e.g., diabetes treatment regimens). For example, school-based programs use these intervention components to help children manage their interpersonal behavior in ways that allow them to engage more constructively in learning activities and enhance their chances of academic success. In the same vein, individual health management programs employ these components to help children with chronic illnesses improve positive self-management or adherence behaviors in order to prevent further or serious medical complications. Although the initiating circumstances and outcomes of interest differ, both areas have developed relatively parallel assessments and interventions to address development and enhancement of similar skills. Important insights may be gained by examining the similarities and differences in the effects obtained on key indicators of change which cut across disciplinary prevention efforts aimed at helping youth manage their own behavior successfully. As a first step in this effort, we use meta-analysis of program effects in school-based settings to look at a wide range of measures commonly used in prevention and intervention programs to assess social problem-solving, self-monitoring, self-regulation, and other inter- and intra-personal indicators of change mechanisms.

Preliminary results from 40 programs yielded four broad construct areas of abilities/skills commonly associated with positive development and prevention: social problem solving, social adjustment, emotional well-being, and self-regulation. Each area is commonly assessed using two methods: self-reported estimates of behavior (e.g., questionnaires or interviews), and direct observation (e.g., naturally occurring observation). We found interesting differences in the effect sizes for each construct area depending on the measurement technique used. For example, direct observation provided larger effect sizes for pre-post change with a median of .42 (range .35 to.56) vs .29 (range .04 to .47) for self-report measures, and a tendency toward larger effect sizes reported for adolescents than in younger children. Interpretation of these findings has implications for construct validity, the possible role that a measurement method could have in the differential effect sizes found, and how meta-analyses and policy decisions need to incorporate measurement methods into conclusions and decisions.

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