Promoting Positive Adult Functioning Through Social Development Intervention in Childhood

Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work, and Educational Psychology, College of Education, University of Washington, Seattle 98115, USA.
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.73). 02/2005; 159(1):25-31. DOI: 10.1001/archpedi.159.1.25
Source: PubMed


To examine the long-term effects of the Seattle Social Development Project intervention in promoting positive adult functioning and preventing mental health problems, crime, and substance use (including tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs) at 21 years of age.
This nonrandomized controlled trial followed up participants to 21 years of age, 9 years after the intervention ended. We compared the following 3 intervention conditions: a full 6-year intervention (grades 1 through 6); a late 2-year intervention (grades 5 and 6 only); and a no-treatment control condition.
Eighteen public elementary schools serving diverse neighborhoods, including high-crime neighborhoods, of Seattle, Wash.
A sex-balanced, multiethnic sample of 605 participants across the 3 conditions who completed interviews at 21 years of age (94% of the original sample in these conditions).
Teacher training in classroom instruction and management, child social and emotional skill development, and parent training.
Self-reports of functioning in school and work, emotional and mental health, and crime and substance use at 21 years of age and official court records.
Broad significant effects on functioning in school and work and on emotional and mental health were found. Fewer significant effects on crime and substance use were found at 21 years of age. Most outcomes had a consistent dose effect, with the strongest effects in subjects in the full-intervention group and effects in the late-intervention group between those in the full-intervention and control groups.
A theory-guided preventive intervention that strengthened teaching and parenting practices and taught children interpersonal skills during the elementary grades had wide-ranging beneficial effects on functioning in early adulthood.

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Available from: J. David Hawkins
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    • "There is also evidence that youth subjected to poverty have a higher risk of health problems both concurrently and as adults (Poulton et al. 2002). Studies are finding, on the other hand, that a number of positive experiences in the family, school, or community can bolster youth well-being (National Research Council and Institute ofMedicine, 2009;Hawkins et al. 2005;Benson et al. 2003;Masten et al. 1999). This study will examine several protective factors to assess whether they partially or fully buffer the risk factors identified by ACEs. "
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    • "Positive behaviors provide little protection against the likelihood of negative behaviors, particularly in later adolescence (Boles et al. 2006). Additionally, some interventions aimed to improve positive youth development have been ineffective or have limited impact on preventing problems; this is evidence of differential, rather than simply inverse, effects (Benson 1998; National Research Council and Institute of Medicine 2002; Hawkins et al. 2005). "
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