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


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This study reports the development of a screening instrument to assess for problematic areas in the lives of adolescents who are beginning to experience substance use behaviors. Four subscales cover the school, family, community, and individual/peer domains. Sample: The Communities That Care Youth Survey was used as an item pool with a convenience sample of 26,781 surveys by students throughout New York State in the year 2000 serving as the sampling frame. Methodology: Principal component factor analysis was run to determine the number of factors that emerged from the data. One item for each factor was included in the screen, and three methods of item selection were compared to determine the approach that best fit this data. Tests were run for concurrent criterion validity, known instrument construct validity, and convergent construct validity. Inter-domain correlations were run, as were correlations for all gender and race sub-groups in the exploratory sample. The results were then replicated on a confirmatory sample. Clinical cut-points were also determined and tested. Results: Principal component analysis produced thirty two factors. The ADSI did a good job of meeting the psychometric standards set. The screen exceeded the concurrent criterion validity criteria set for correlation between the ADSI scale and subscales with its original long form counterparts. Correlations ranged from .85 for the school subscale to .95 for the overall scale. It produced an adequate correlation with the last 30 day use, the known instrument validity test, of .561. The convergent construct validity results, correlation with the Anti-Social Behavior scale, did not meet the criteria set of r = .50, though at r = .494, the results warranted further investigation. The ADSI showed a general applicability across both gender and race and the results were replicated in the confirmatory sample. Cut-points were determined for 95% sensitivity, and showed sufficient positive predictive values. Findings: The ADSI is an individualized screening instrument that has shown acceptable psychometric properties, is brief, has useful cut-points, and is based on a risk and protective factor model of adolescent substance use.


PROMOTING WELL-BEING USING EMPLOYMENT READINESS IN ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT. Michael Wolf-Branigin1, Patience White2, Janet Gibbs3, 1George Mason University, Arlington, VA United States; 2Arthritis Foundation, Washington, DC United States; 3Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC United States

The Adolescent Employment Readiness Center at Children's National Medical Center provides career development services to promote well-being for District of Columbia adolescents and young adults who have physical disabilities. The project assists in seeking and obtaining employment and reduces the likelihood of remaining on Supplemental Security Income by when they reach adulthood.

Method: We measured three constructs including of current life skills, career maturity, self-determination, and quality of life, the instruments included: the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment, the CMI Career Maturity Index, and the Pediatric Quality of Life Scale.

Adolescents participating in the project (n=178) were 60 % male and 40% female with a mean age of 14.8 years. Ages ranged from 12 to 20 years old. At the beginning of the second year, 25 of the participants had ceased their involvement in the project. Statistical analyses during the baseline period included comparing participant means by age to norm-referenced means.

Results: Findings for the first year indicate that 13 to 14 year-olds and their families were the most interested in the career readiness program. The mean percentage of life skill mastery for all domains was lower for the project participants than were the norms. Career readiness attitudes were higher than the norm only for the 12 to 14 year-olds and lower for the remaining age groups. Age appeared negatively correlated with lower norm-referenced quality of life.

Year two results indicate that adolescents aged 15 through 17 had a greater likelihood of not being active in program. Those active in the program demonstrated improvement in their overall quality of life (p=.041). Adolescents age 15-17 remaining active in the project exhibited significant improvements in current life skills when compared to when they entered into the project. By the end of the second year, all age groups were no longer significantly lower than the life skills norms.

Implications: Early engagement of adolescents appears key to success. The results indicate that early entry into the program (age 13 or 14) improves the likelihood of positive outcomes for higher quality of life, attitudes towards future employment, and life skills. These positive outcomes occur when compared to adolescents of the same age who did not remain in the program and when compared to older adolescents (age 15 years or older) who did remain active.



The Federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB, 2002), mandating standardized testing in public schools, provides researchers with unprecedented opportunities for scientific comparison. At the same time, the climate of high stakes testing encouraged by the law merits empirical scrutiny from prevention researchers across a range of specialties. Many policy makers are hoping that increases in accountability will encourage increases in performance among teachers and low achieving students. However, imposing unilateral standards on children with differential access to educational opportunities may be an inappropriate use of high stakes testing. Tests used in this manner may marginalize low income students or promote increases in dropout rates. Research is needed to help states implement No Child Left Behind mandates fairly and in a manner in line with the spirit of the law. The present study relies on school-level analyses from 1,450 Virginia schools. Results indicate that student poverty and geography are associated with differential access to qualified teachers, and that differential access to qualified teachers is uniquely associated with performance on high-stakes achievement tests. Statistical interactions and effect sizes are interpreted and production functions are discussed. Prevention researchers are encouraged to take a more active role in NCLB data consumption. Emphasis is placed on the need to construct scientifically grounded research designs that are also relevant to current legal and political contexts. Such studies are needed to inform legislation, litigation, and policy decisions for an educational system that is increasingly turning toward a high stakes testing framework.


MENTORING AS PREVENTION: THE CSAP NATIONAL YOUTH MENTORING INITIATIVE. Nikki Bellamy1, Liz Sale2, 1SAMHSA/CSAP, Rockville, MD United States; 2EMT Associates, Inc., St. Louis, MO United States

Mentoring is a potentially valuable asset in promoting positive youth development among at-risk youth. Research on well-designed and implemented mentoring programs has documented reductions in unexcused absences and improvements in perceived scholastic competence (Rhodes, Grossman, and Resch, 2003), reductions in alcohol use and problem behaviors and increases in self-confidence, self-control, cooperation, and attachment (Aseltine, Dupre, & Lamlein, 2000), improved well-being, attitudes toward school, the future and elders (Taylor, LoSciuto, Fox, Hilbert & Sonkowsky, 1999); and enhanced life skills (LoSciuto, Rajala & Taylor, 1996). In summary, existing knowledge suggests that well-implemented mentor programs provide youth with support, counsel, friendship, skills building, and positive role modeling. However, this knowledge also suggests that mentoring interventions are fragile. They must be well designed and implemented to be effective, and poorly implemented programs can actually be harmful to participating youth (Rhodes, 2002). From 2001 to 2004, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) funded seven youth mentoring programs to provide service interventions for at-risk youth and to participate in a three-year national evaluation. The primary evaluation objectives of the initiative were: (1) to assess the effectiveness of mentoring programs in prevention and/or reducing the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD) among youth at risk for such behaviors; (2) to assess the effectiveness of specified mentoring strategies in reducing selected risk factors or enhancing protective factors that have been shown to be associated with use and abuse of ATOD in youth and their families; (3) to explore local program characteristics at each participating project site to better understand the components that comprise an effective mentoring program, (4) to explore the characteristics of mentors and the youth they serve to better understand the keys to successful mentor/mentee relationships; and (5) adaptations needed once mentoring is implemented in different settings or with different target groups. Each program had both treatment and control groups, with a total sample size across the seven sites of 1165. The presentation will specifically outline findings from the evaluation of youth mentoring project sites funded from the years 2001 thru 2004, including the effects of program design, fidelity, dosage, and mentor/mentee relationship on changes in youth social skills, problem behaviors, and alcohol and other drug use.



With the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act, schools and school systems have been increasingly called upon to implement educational practices and policies based on scientific evidence. At present, however, a large measure of what is available to educational decision makers is based on weak evidence, speculation, and opinion. In response to the need for scientific evidence on the effectiveness of school-based programs that promote positive character development and reduce school violence, the Institute of Education Sciences in collaboration with the CDC, initiated the Social Character Development (SACD) Research Program in 2003. This presentation will describe the implementation of a cognitive-behavioral violence prevention and social competency program being implemented during the 2004-2005 school year in Maryland. The evaluation involves 12 elementary schools (6 intervention, 6 control) and is part of a 3-year, multi-site collaboration between 7 principal investigators implementing similar SACD programs. In this randomized-controlled trial, 10 or more schools at each site will implement common outcome measures, as well as program implementation measures unique to each site. Maryland´s research will evaluate the Second Step prevention program when it is undertaken together with a school-wide effort to engage faculty and administrators in character development team planning through the creation of School Character Development Teams. The teams will focus on establishing consistent school-wide educational practices modeling the social skills taught in the curriculum and ensuring that discipline is congruent with curriculum content.

Baseline data collection has just begun in Maryland, so the exact sample size is not known, but is estimated to be approximately 4,522 students in grades 1 through 5, with approximately 240 teachers/classrooms. The presentation will describe the development of implementation standards and mechanisms for measuring/monitoring implementation of the Second Step program. Implementation data includes: 1) lesson-specific implementation forms completed by classroom teachers after each Second Step lesson in grades 1 through 5, 2) observational data collected by research staff on teachers implementing Second Step lessons, and 3) School Character Development team rosters, minutes, and monthly character education plan updates. Data will assist with determining how well Second Step curriculum is being implemented in each of the intervention schools and how well the Character Planning Team process is being implemented. The presentation will highlight findings to date and discuss current obstacles and challenges to implementing school-based prevention interventions in school settings.



Previous research has shown that children and adolescents who rely on avoidant coping show greater psychological distress in response to stressful life events than those who use more active coping styles (e.g. Bokszczanin, 2003; Gonzales et al., 2001; Lengua & Long, 2003; Seiffge-Krenke, 2001). Furthermore, parental hostility and lack of emotional validation in childhood can relate to chronic emotional avoidance and inhibition and subsequent distress (e.g. Krause, Mendelson, & Lynch, 2003). Parental rejection, in particular, has been shown to relate to simultaneous childhood depression (e.g. Lefkowitz& Tesiny, 1984).

It is unclear, however, whether those who use distraction to cope with stressors are relying on a type of avoidance coping, or whether distraction is a component of active coping. Distraction has been defined as a more active form of seeking escape from stressful situations (De Jong et al., 1994), and some coping measures include distraction items such as "I do a hobby or something I enjoy" (Dise-Lewis, 1988). These items seem more similar to active coping than avoidance.

This study will examine look separately at the association of avoidance and distraction coping with child internalizing symptoms of depression and anxiety. It will also examine the potential mediating effects of parenting behavior on the relationship between avoidance and distraction coping and child internalizing symptoms. It is expected that children´s use of avoidant coping will positively relate to their internalizing symptoms, but that children´s use of distraction to cope will inversely relate to internalizing symptoms. Furthermore, parental rejection is expected to mediate the relationship between children´s avoidant coping and their internalizing symptoms.

Measures of parenting behavior will include the mean of the Child Report of Parenting Behavior (CRPBI; Schaefer, 1965) and Parent Report of Parenting Behavior, developed from a revised version of the CRPBI (Schaefer, 1965; Teleki, Powell, & Dodder, 1982). Coping will be measured with the Children´s Coping Strategies Checklist-Revised (Ayers et al., 1996), and child internalizing symptoms will be measured with the Reynolds´ Revised Child Manifest Anxiety Scale (Reynolds, 1978) and the Child Depression Inventory (Kovacs, 1982). 203 families consisting of at least one parent coping with job loss, recruited from a local unemployment agency, and one child between the ages of 9 and 15 will be included in the analyses.

WHO BENEFITS FROM SCHOOL-BASED PREVENTION OF EMOTIONAL DISORDERS AND WHO DOES NOT? RESULTS FROM A UNIVERSAL PREVENTION STUDY IN GERMAN ADOLESCENTS. Juliane Junge1, Rolf Manz2, Jürgen Margraf3, 1Technical University of Dresden, Dresden, Germany; 2Central Federation of Public Sector Accident Insurers, Munich, Germany; 3University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Epidemiological studies consistently show, that anxiety and depressive disorders are very frequent among adolescents. Even if later effectively treated, they often considerably disturb youth´s normal development. However, the number of successfully evaluated primary prevention programs for anxiety and depression is still limited. Taking the rather young age of that research area into account, results of many studies are very encouraging, although at this point, data on the effectiveness of preventive interventions still cannot satisfy researchers. Often effects sizes are small, and initial results fade out over time. Therefore it is important to investigate potential predictors of program success, which might guide the design, implementation and evaluation of future preventive interventions.

Using data of a school-based quasi-experimental prevention study with a 15-month follow-up, several potential predictor variables were studied. Altogether 612 adolescents 15 to 17 years old participated in the study. The cognitive-behavioral program "GO!“ for the prevention of anxiety and depression was delivered to half of the sample over an eight-week period (8 sessions at 90 min. each) within school. A comprehensive questionnaire battery and structured clinical interviews were used for a differential efficacy and process evaluation.

Generally, program effects with regard to symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as potential risk factors (e.g., dysfunctional cognitions, avoidance behavior) were weak within the universal setting. Multivariate analyses of variance and regression analyses revealed that students with the highest levels of psychopathology at baseline improved on average less than those with lower initial symptom scores. Especially unfavorable were high initial anxious- and depressiveness, many dysfunctional cognitions, pronounced avoidance behavior and social skill deficits. Positively related to improvement through program participation were for instance higher levels of self-efficacy and indicators of adequate social integration. We also found signs of a potential sensitization to bodily sensations in a subgroup of vulnerably male program participants, which have to be evaluated in terms of risks for negative side effects through school-based interventions for unselected samples of adolescents.

Implications of these findings for the conception of future preventive interventions will be discussed at the conference.


BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN RESEARCH AND PRACTICE. Jennifer Caputo1, Xiaoyan Zhang1, 1KIT Solutions, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA United States

The biggest problem in the field of prevention science is the gap between researchers and practitioners. A solution to this problem is a Knowledge-based IT (Information Technology) Infrastructure which integrates social science research methodology, prevention sciences knowledge, and state-of-the-art information technology. Generally speaking, the human service sector has traditionally been behind technologically. A nationwide or statewide knowledge-based IT infrastructure would not only support the mission of human services but would also satisfy government agencies, administrators, and program managers need for a systematic data collection system to help document activities and demonstrate impact and outcomes to help improve service programs. In addition, this IT infrastructure would give taxpayers, legislators, and funders the accountability, performance, and outcome measures desired.

Our presentation will demonstrate such an IT infrastructure that is based on an effective theory, methodology, and a conceptual framework. The audience will see a live demonstration of an internet-based interactive prevention data system. In addition, the audience will engage in discussion and question/answer session following the demonstration. Active participation of the audience is encouraged throughout the presentation.

Currently, this knowledge-based information system is being utilized by eight states (PA, VA, SC, FL, RI, ME, WA, and CO) for statewide prevention data collection and management. Office of National Control Policy decided to use this IT infrastructure for managing the data collection and evaluation of over 500 community anti-drug coalitions across the country funded by the federal government. This infrastructure is also utilized by Social Developmental Research Group (SDRG) for its NIDA funded seven-state study on Community That Care (CTC) prevention model. The systematically collected data present a unique opportunity for researchers in the field of prevention to design cross-site evaluation study, conduct data mining of national trends, and link process and outcome data.



Join us for an overview of various online prevention and intervention projects from the University of Washington to the University of Texas to the University of Pennsylvania. These projects span the topics of substance use, depression, high risk sexual behaviors, and eating disorders. Participate in a product demonstration, a lively question and answer session, and an opportunity to get acquainted with other researchers engaged in web-based prevention research.

Guidelines will be presented to help audience members with the following:

- Review the five key milestones necessary to ensure a successful project

- Learn techniques for applying online research to improve the ability to collect quality data, such as simple-to-complex item branching, data validation and interactive reminder procedures, login and privacy alternatives, and of course, question design.

- Discuss the complications, and solutions, of aligning changes to surveys over time.

- Explore ideas related to survey design and formatting, including alternative user interface approaches such as calendars, diaries, registries, dashboards and consoles.

- Introduce data management tools that allow you to build complex queries on-the-fly, share saved reports, develop analytical tools for tracking data in real-time, and save for repetitive scheduled use and results distribution.

- Examine sample reports and analytical tools including in-progress submissions, drill down from summaries to subsets to details, comparative datasets and graphical presentation.

- Present case study vignettes of online survey and research management systems currently improving respondent response rates, making comparisons of behaviors and attitudes over time possible, and supporting collaboration in the market research field.

Conclusions and recommendations provided for comparing the variety of currently available solutions.


USING TECHNOLOGY TO MEASURE AND ENSURING PROGRAM FIDELITY. Stephen Wallace1, Stephanie Gerstenblith2, 1Wallace Consulting Services, LLC, Washington, DC United States; 2InQuery, Wilmington, DE United States

Many program funders are requiring that programs addressing social problems implement evidence-based interventions. In order for these programs to yield maximum results, they must be administered with fidelity. Program fidelity refers to the degree to which an organization implements a program as intended by its developers. However, the concept of program fidelity must not be considered a static property. Adaptations are frequently made to evidence-based programs, for example, to ensure that they are culturally appropriate and meet the needs of the target population. Strong program evaluations include measures that ensure that adaptations to program implementation do not compromise the fidelity of the program delivery. Program fidelity checklists can be used to monitor how program implementation aligns with the intent of program developers, the expectations of the funder(s), and the needs of the program participants.

Use of modern technology can be instrumental in measuring program fidelity in ways that are easy and non-intrusive to program implementation. We will demonstrate a technology, developed by InQuery, which uses both handheld (Palm technology) and web-based platforms, and eliminates the need for paper and pencil data collection and manual data entry. The data collected are easily downloadable to meet the needs of researchers and practicioners. Data are also available for assessment during or immediately after services are provided.

We will demonstrate this technology using samples of fidelity checklists developed by Wallace Consulting Services. Demonstrations of sample data collection tools will be provided on both handheld and web-based platforms. This is a hands-on presentation.

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