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PROVIDING PREVENTION SUPPORT: SUPPLEMENTAL TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR PREVENTION PROGRAMS. Rochelle Rokusek1, Kathryn Conaway1, Angela Ledgerwood1, James Mosher1, Paul Flaspohler1, 1Miami University, Oxford, OH United States

The purpose of this poster is to describe the development and preliminary results of systematic research on supplemental technical assistance provided in support of effective practice in prevention. The need for technical assistance to support effective implementation of prevention programs has been identified (Butterfoss, 2004; Chinman et al., In press); however, relatively little research has investigated technical assistance processes, quality, and links between technical assistance and outcomes. The poster will present results from a pilot project conducted to capture the quality and amount of supplemental technical assistance provided to support the implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program has been recognized by OJJDP, SAMHSA, and the U.S. Department of Education as a best practice in youth violence prevention (Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, 2003). The multilevel, multicomponent program is aimed at the prevention and reduction of bullying in elementary, middle and junior high schools. The program provides a set of guidelines which each school adapts to meet locally determined needs (Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, 2003). Four elementary schools in rural Ohio received training and program-specific technical assistance from Olweus trainers. In addition, each school received university-based supplemental technical assistance to promote successful adoption, implementation, evaluation, and sustainability. Supplemental technical assistance is designed to support capacities that are both specific to the intervention as well as individual and organizational capacities that support effective practice of interventions. The value of university-community partnerships in empowering communities to implement effective programs has been identified (Suarez-Balcazar et al., 2004). The poster will describe both the quantity and quality of the university-based supplemental technical assistance provided and will present mechanisms to be used for future research in prevention support. The implications for the development of future university-community partnerships in the adoption, implementation, evaluation, and sustainability of effective prevention practices will be addressed. Data will be viewed through Ottoson´s (1997) five “lenses” of assessment which address skill transfer, knowledge utilization, application of knowledge to context, social components of diffusion, and implementation of concepts. The poster will include presentation of tools, processes, and lessons learned from the pilot project.



Introduction: Threat appraisals, the implications an event has for one´s continued well being (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984), have been shown to be one explanatory mechanism for the relation between stressful divorce-related events and children´s post-divorce adjustment problems in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies (Grych et al., 2003; Krantz et al., 1985; Lengua et al., 1999; Sheets et al., 1996). Maternal acceptance has been demonstrated to mitigate the relation between divorce-related stressors and adjustment problems (Wolchik et al., 2000). This study examined whether maternal acceptance moderates the relation between threat appraisals of divorce-related stressors and later adjustment problems. Maternal acceptance may reduce the association between threat appraisals of divorce stressors and adjustment problems through its effect on children´s affect, coping, and / or self-esteem.

Method: The sample consisted of 303 children ages 8-12 (46% female) and their mothers. About 77% of the sample were participants in a passive longitudinal study; the remainder were participants in a literature control condition in an evaluation of a preventive intervention for children in divorced families. Assessments occurred on two occasions, separated by six months. Mothers and children completed 10 items from the acceptance subscale of the Children´s Report of Parental Behavior Inventory (Schaefer, 1965). For adjustment problems, mothers completed the internalizing and externalizing subscales of the Child Behavior Checklist Inventory (CBCL; Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1983) and children completed the Child Depression Inventory (Kovacs, 1981), the Revised Children´s Manifest Anxiety Scale (Reynolds & Richmond, 1978), and a self-report adaptation of the CBCL externalizing subscale (Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1983). Children also completed a threat appraisal measure (Sandler et al., 1990).

Results: Hierarchical regression demonstrated that mother report of maternal acceptance (time 1) significantly interacted with child report of threat appraisals (time 1) to predict mother report of child internalizing problems at time 2 (6 months later), controlling for time 1 internalizing. Threat appraisals were more strongly related to internalizing problems at lower levels of maternal acceptance than at higher levels of acceptance, indicating a stress-buffering effect of maternal acceptance. These findings add to the growing body of research on the role of parenting as a protective factor for children in high-risk settings (e.g., Klein et al., 2000; Scaramella et al., 1999). The results suggest the importance of including strategies to increase maternal warmth in preventive efforts for children from divorced families.


SCHOOL-WIDE POSITIVE BEHAVIOR SUPPORT (PBS): EXAMINING THE PROCESS OF IMPLEMENTATION. Katherine Bevans1, Catherine Bradshaw1, Susan Keys2, Phillip Leaf1, 1Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD United States; 2SAMHSA, Rockville, MD United States

The No Child Left Behind legislation creates a significant penalty for schools with high levels of violence, while this and other policies simultaneously place a premium on the use of evidence-based practices. As a result of this increase in pressure, many schools are modifying the ways in which they deal with student violence. For example, Positive Behavior and Support (PBS) a school-wide, universal prevention strategy that promotes positive behavior through organizational behavioral principles (Lewis & Sugai, 1999), has been implemented in over 2,700 schools across 33 states. This presentation addresses two questions of considerable importance to prevention scientists: 1) In the era of No Child Left Behind, will schools participate in randomized trials of violence prevention programs? 2) Will schools assigned to non-intervention conditions undertake efforts that make them look little different from intervention schools? Data for the present study come from Project Target, a large-scale four-year evaluation of PBS in 37 elementary schools (21 randomly assigned to implement PBS, 16 assigned to be comparison schools). Implementation fidelity, organizational health, and children´s behavior were assessed annually. We examine findings from the School-Wide Evaluation Tool (SET; Sugai et al., 2001), a research instrument completed annually by trained raters unaware of school´s PBS implementation status. The SET consists of 28 items organized into 7 key features of PBS: school-wide behavioral expectations defined; expectations taught; rewards provided for meeting expectations; consequences for problem behavior in place; problem behavior patterns monitored; school management; district-level support of PBS. The SET also provides an overall summary score which represents an average score for all 7 key features. The developers of PBS posit that intended benefits of PBS occur when it is implemented with at least 80% fidelity, as measured by the SET (Sugai et al., 2001). Working with the Maryland State Department of Education, we successfully enrolled schools in a randomized trial of PBS. Analyses at baseline found no significant differences in the school-wide components of PBS. Although both intervention and comparison schools showed increases in school-wide management activities, intervention schools evidenced significantly higher levels of implementation on overall summary scores and on 6 of 7 key features after one and two years of implementation. Comparison schools evidenced some aspects of PBS, although not at the 80% threshold-level. Specific differences in PBS implementation between groups will be presented and implications for the dissemination of large-scale prevention efforts will be discussed.


PROMOTING SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN MIDDLE CHILDHOOD. Steven Rose1, 1George Mason University, Arlington, VA United States

The potential of research on preventive intervention with youngsters in middle childhood has begun to be realized. The purpose of this paper is to review the research evidence pertaining to the effectiveness of preventive interventions with children in school and community systems in four areas.One, accumulated anecdotal evidence and empirical studies have shown that preventive interventions are effective in changing attitudes of children toward divorce and improving their classroom conduct. Evidence tends to be positive about the effectiveness of preventive interventions in helping children cope with the emotional consequences of divorce. Although most empirical studies have clearly shown the effectiveness of preventive intervention with children of divorce, some empirical studies have revealed only modest results.Two, the effects of preventive interventions on the social competence of youngsters in middle childhood has also been the focus of empirical research. Social skills training has been shown to be useful in reducing aggression, improving the ability of children to make refusal statements, and improving the overall social adjustment of shy children to school.Three, anecdotal and empirical evidence support the value and effectiveness of preventive interventions for improving mental health in middle childhood. Preventive interventions centered around mental health and substance abuse issues have the potential to improve children's problem-solving skills.Four, empirical research studies have been conducted on the use of preventive interventions to improve school performance. Many such studies, along with anecdotal evidence, have been encouraging. Several models of preventive intervention are useful for enhancing school performance in middle childhood.In conclusion, a body of research that will be reviewed shows that preventive interventions can effectively improve coping with divorce, peer relationships, mental health, and school performance in middle childhood.



School climate is a critical component in initiating and sustaining school improvements. More specifically, the amount of trust and respect among faculty and staff is an integral part of the school climate and sets the tone for the expectations of the school (Bryk & Schneider, 2000). Strong leadership also has the potential to positively impact school climate. While leadership is often thought of as one key individual (e.g., the principal), it can also be dispersed within the school so that it is separated from role and status and reflected in the relationships and connections among individuals in a school environment. These relationships and interactions among leaders, staff, and students contribute greatly to teachers´ efficacy and overall school climate, which has been shown to be a key factor in successful school reform (Muijs & Harris, 2003; Stevens, 1990). Furthermore, strengthened relations within schools have been associated with increased academic productivity (Bryk & Schneider, 2002).The present study investigates the associations between staff relationships and teachers´ perceptions of the schools´ goals for students as well as teachers´ collective and individual efficacy.Data from a staff and teacher survey conducted in 12 urban K-7 elementary schools, with a total of 334 teachers, were used to conduct these analyses. Teachers completed a questionnaire on staff relationships (which included items concerning respect and trust among staff), teachers´ perceptions of the schools´ areas of focus (student social skills, student learning, academic performance, prevention/intervention), and teachers´ collective and individual efficacy. Response rates for each school ranged from 68% - 100%. Regression analyses, controlling for number of years in the school district, were conducted separately between staff relationships and the variables above. Results suggest significant positive associations between staff relationships and each of the school focus variables and teachers´ collective efficacy. When teachers reported more positive staff relationships, they also reported higher levels of focus on social skills, student learning, academic performance, and prevention/intervention. Also, when teachers reported more positive staff relationships, they also reported higher levels of collective efficacy in addressing school problems. These findings suggest that staff relationships may play a role in teachers´ perceptions of schools´ various foci and their collective efficacy to address school-wide problems. As additional data are collected, analyses will focus on school-level effects of teachers´ perceptions, and findings will be discussed in terms of the implications of within-building staff relationships on school climate and students´ outcomes.



While both externalizing and internalizing behaviors have been associated with cigarette smoking in adolescents, support has been stronger for the role of externalizing factors. During early and late childhood when cigarette use emerges, it is important to understand early mechanisms that may predict subsequent use. We used a latent growth model to examine the role of teacher-rated externalizing and internalizing behaviors on the development of perceived harm of cigarette use over a three-year period among a sample of 301 4th- through 6th-grade students. Also investigated were the effects of growth in perceived harm on Time 3 intent to use cigarettes. Students were administered surveys of tobacco use correlates including perceived harm and intent to use over a three year period. Teachers completed the TRF form of the CBCL at Time 1 and scales from this measure were used to assess internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Surprisingly, externalizing behaviors were not associated with growth in perceived harm among either male or female students. Among male students, higher internalizing behaviors were associated with a higher level of perceived harm at Time 1 (intercept) and a lower rate of growth in perceived harm over the three years (slope). The relationship between the perceived harm intercept and Time 3 intent was negative, indicating that higher initial levels of perceived harm were associated with less intent to use cigarettes. However, the rate of growth in perceived harm was unrelated to intent to use among male students. Internalizing behaviors were unrelated both to the intercept and slope of perceived harm among female students. Similar to male students, higher initial levels of perceived harm were related to lower levels of intent at Time 3, and growth in perceived harm was unrelated to intent to use.


ADOLESCENT SOCIAL VISIBILITY IS RELATED TO SUBSTANCE USE: IMPLICATIONS FOR PREVENTION RESEACH. David Zielinski1, Patrick Malone1, Nicole Polanichka1, Adam Mack1, 1Duke University, Durham, NC United States

Over the past years, there has been growing consensus that youths´ peer group status is related to their social and emotional development. Particular interest has been paid to how peer status affects the propensity to engaging in high-risk behaviors. Most research in this area, however, has focused exclusively on the detrimental effects of peer rejection. Several recent studies indicate that other social characteristics, such as peer influence and visibility, may also be positively associated with problem behaviors. The current study builds upon this previous body of research, specifically examining the relationship between adolescent peer visibility and the use of several illicit substances.

Data for the current study were collected from a diverse sample of 7´th graders enrolled in a public school located in the southeastern United States (N=208). European Americans represented slightly more than half of the sample (51%), followed by African Americans (37%) and members of other races (12%). Approximately 60% of the sample was female. Subjects completed a survey which included detailed questions concerning their peer group status and history of substance use. They were additionally asked to nominate peers in their grade who matched specific social descriptions. Data from these peer sociometrics were utilized to create a measure of each subject´s social visibility, defined as the total of “most liked” and “least liked” nominations received from their peers. Logistic regression analyses, adjusted for race and sex, were employed to examine the relationship between peer visibility and the use of cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and hard drugs during the past 30 days.

Results indicate that youths with higher levels of social visibility are at twice the risk for having recently smoked cigarettes (Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.90; 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.07, 3.39), used alcohol (OR = 2.08; CI= 1.32, 3.27), and smoked marijuana (OR = 2.10; CI = 1.06, 4.14). Social visibility was not found to be related to hard drug use in this sample (OR = 1.02; CI = 0.65, 1.58). Data from a second sample of 7´th graders are currently being collected and the extent to which these results can be replicated will be assessed in the near future.

Peer-based interventions targeting socially visible, influential youth have recently been identified as a potential means for reducing adolescent problem behaviors. The current results support this prevention methodology by helping to establish that adolescents with a high degree of social visibility are more likely to engage in substance use. Targeting prevention efforts toward this influential population may result in more successful outcomes than current, more broadly-based substance use prevention programs.


DOES FAMILY STRUCTURE AFFECT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PUBERTAL STATUS AND EXTERNALIZING BEHAVIOR?. Kristin Olson1, Kamal Wright-Cunningham1, 1George Washington University, Washington, DC United States

Puberty is one of the most profound biological events that adolescents encounter (Caspi, Lynam, Moffitt, and Silva, 1993). The variability in timing of puberty means that some children achieve a more mature physical appearance before their peers (Champion, Vernberg, Shipman, 2003). This is thought to create a disconnect between biological age and how one is treated by society, thus potentially leading to precocious behaviors (Simons & Blyth, 1987). Further, early menarche has been shown to predict behavior problems in girls, but this is only true in light of certain risk factors (Caspi et al., 1993). Belsky, Steinberg & Draper (1991) posit that stress in general is thought to be linked to earlier pubertal status in females. Disruption of the family is one large stressor that children often face. Specifically, the lack of presence of the biological father as a marker of family stress is linked to early menarche (Moffitt, Caspi, Belsky, & Silva, 1992). We hypothesize children who are more advanced than their peers in terms of pubertal status will demonstrate increases in delinquent and aggressive behaviors. We additionally posit that a lack of presence of the biological father plays a moderating role in this relationship.

We used data from a longitudinal study examining family adaptation following parental job loss. The sample was recruited by contacting individuals who applied for unemployment insurance within the state of Maryland. Families were drawn from nine counties, including suburban and urban areas. The children (N = 203; 54% female) range in age from 9 - 14 years (M = 11.8 years). The sample is diverse in terms of SES and ethnicity (49% African-American, 43% Caucasian). We will use Achenbach´s parent-reported Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) as a measure of the child´s externalizing behaviors. We will use the parent reported Pubertal Development Scale (PDS) to measure pubertal status of the child. To categorize the children into advanced versus non-advanced pubertal status, we will use a criteria of belonging in the top 1/3 of developmental status of their peers. Our advanced status group therefore contains 37 girls and 29 boys.

Overall, it is our hope that these findings can further contribute to the literature in determining if pubertal status as well as being part of a single parent family affects one´s propensity to exhibit externalizing behaviors. This will aid in the creation of targeted prevention programs to those most at risk for externalizing behavior problems.


ALCOHOL USE IN EARLY ADOLESCENCE: THE EFFECT OF CHANGES IN RISK TAKING, PERCEIVED HARM AND PEER ALCOHOL USE. Kimberly Henry1, Michael Slater2, Gene Oetting2, 1University of Colorado, Boulder, CO United States; 2Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO United States

Objective: Peer substance use, sensation seeking, and low perceived harm are well-established risk factors for substance use, but they are often treated as stable factors that affect adolescent´s likelihood of substance use. This study, instead, explores the effects of changes in risk factors for individual adolescents.

Method: Participants in this study were 1065 male and female students. The students were in 6th or 7th grade at the initial survey and provided survey data on three additional occasions over a period of two years. Random-coefficient models were used to assess the intraindividual variability of peer alcohol use, perceived harm, and risk taking and their effect on alcohol use.

Results: As expected, the overall number of alcohol using peers is correlated with a student´s own alcohol use. In addition, there is a dynamic relationship within student; as alcohol use of peers changes over time, it is accompanied by parallel changes in alcohol use by the individual. Two moderating variables of the effect of peers were validated, perceived harm of alcohol use and risk taking. During times when adolescents are exposed to more alcohol using peers, an accompanied decrease in perceived harm, or an increase in risk taking further increases the likelihood of alcohol use.

Conclusions: The findings are consistent with peer cluster theory. During adolescence, selection of friends involves shared substance use norms, maintaining a basic correlation between peer and individual use. However, as children interact within peer clusters, attitudes, values, beliefs, and personal characteristics all change, either producing associated changes in substance use or as a result of changes in substance use.

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