Article

The Effects of Poverty on the Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health of Children and Youth Implications for Prevention

Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
American Psychologist (Impact Factor: 6.87). 05/2012; 67(4):272-84. DOI: 10.1037/a0028015
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This article considers the implications for prevention science of recent advances in research on family poverty and children's mental, emotional, and behavioral health. First, we describe definitions of poverty and the conceptual and empirical challenges to estimating the causal effects of poverty on children's mental, emotional, and behavioral health. Second, we offer a conceptual framework that incorporates selection processes that affect who becomes poor as well as mechanisms through which poverty appears to influence child and youth mental health. Third, we use this conceptual framework to selectively review the growing literatures on the mechanisms through which family poverty influences the mental, emotional, and behavioral health of children. We illustrate how a better understanding of the mechanisms of effect by which poverty impacts children's mental, emotional, and behavioral health is valuable in designing effective preventive interventions for those in poverty. Fourth, we describe strategies to directly reduce poverty and the implications of these strategies for prevention. This article is one of three in a special section (see also Biglan, Flay, Embry, & Sandler, 2012; Muñoz, Beardslee, & Leykin, 2012) representing an elaboration on a theme for prevention science developed by the 2009 report of the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine.

11 Followers
 · 
1,187 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Family skill training programs have been recognized as effective strategies for preventing substance use. However, they have been evaluated mainly in high-income countries. Families in developing countries also face difficulties; therefore, it is important to explore the fit of existing programs in this context. The present study explores parents' perceptions and beliefs about changes following participation in the Strengthening Families Program 10-14, which was implemented in Panama by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Thirty parents who had taken part in the program between 2010 and 2011 were interviewed. Thematic analysis was conducted taking a participant-driven inductive stand. An exploration of parents' narratives suggested that, after the program, they observed changes in themselves as parents, in their children, in the interaction between the two of them, and in their functioning as a couple. Perceived changes centered on communication, limits, obedience, relationship roles, emotional regulation, and social development. For example, parents reported being able to control their emotions in a healthier manner, reducing the use of shouting and setting limits in a more effective way. All these factors have been recognized in previous research as strategies for preventing substance use. It is important to assess participants' perceptions of programs brought from elsewhere before dissemination efforts can take place. Parents interviewed for this study appeared to hold positive views about this program. This methodology is discussed as a means of evaluating evidence-based interventions in different cultural settings.
    Prevention Science 11/2014; 16(5). DOI:10.1007/s11121-014-0530-y · 2.63 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Certain subgroups of youth are at high risk for depression and elevated depressive symptoms, and experience limited access to quality mental health care. Examples are socioeconomically disadvantaged, racial/ ethnic minority, and sexual minority youth. Research shows that there are efficacious interventions to prevent youth depression and depressive symptoms. These preventive interventions have the potential to play a key role in addressing these mental health disparities by reducing youth risk factors and enhancing protective factors. However, there are comparatively few preventive interventions directed specifically to these vulnerable subgroups, and sample sizes of diverse subgroups in general prevention trials are often too low to assess whether preventive interventions work equally well for vulnerable youth compared to other youth. In this paper, we describe the importance and need for "scientific equity," or equality and fairness in the amount of scientific knowledge produced to understand the potential solutions to such health disparities. We highlight possible strategies for promoting scientific equity, including the following: increasing the number of prevention research participants from vulnerable subgroups, conducting more data synthesis analyses and implementation science research, disseminating preventive interventions that are efficacious for vulnerable youth, and increasing the diversity of the prevention science research workforce. These strategies can increase the availability of research evidence to determine the degree to which preventive interventions can help address mental health disparities. Although this paper utilizes the prevention of youth depression as an illustrative case example, the concepts are applicable to other health outcomes for which there are disparities, such as substance use and obesity.
    Prevention Science 10/2014; 16(5). DOI:10.1007/s11121-014-0518-7 · 2.63 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this article is to describe the practice-based coaching model used in BEST in CLASS, a Tier-2 classroom-based intervention comprised of evi-dence-based instructional practices designed to prevent and ameliorate the chronic problem behaviors of young chil-dren at risk for the development of emotional/behavioral disorders. Following a description of the model, data from year two of an ongoing 4-year randomized control trial are presented that describe (a) the amount (i.e., dosage) of coaching teachers received during BEST in CLASS implementation, (b) the integrity with which coaches implemented the BEST in CLASS coaching model, and (c) subsequent teacher implementation of the BEST in CLASS strategies. Forty-eight (23 BEST in CLASS; 25 comparison) teachers and ten coaches participated in this descriptive study. Data indicate that following coaches' observations, teachers received approximately 30 min of practice-based coaching during coaching meetings each week of implementation, and integrity data indicate that coaches implemented the critical coaching skills during the coaching meetings with integrity. Adherence data indicate that teachers in the treatment group increased their exten-siveness of the use of BEST in CLASS practices at both post-treatment and 1-month follow-up compared to com-parison teachers; competence data indicated that teachers in the treatment group increased the quality of delivery of practices at post-treatment compared to comparison teachers. Implications of these findings for both future research and practice-based coaching implementation are discussed.
    School Mental Health 10/2014; 7(1). DOI:10.1007/s12310-014-9134-8