Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
 



Research Project
“Health Risk Behavior in Late Childhood: Impact of a Longitudinal Randomized Trial”
Financed by:
NIMH 1R01MH082085-01A2

Primary Investigators:
Joshua L. Brown (Fordham University)
Stephanie M. Jones (Harvard University)
Lawrence Aber (New York University)
Wendy Hoglund (University of Alberta)
Project Team at Fordham:  
Regin Tanler (Project Director)
Pamela Wong (Research Assistant)
Dallyssa Fana (Research Assistant)
Erin Maxwell (Research Assistant)
Jacqueline Horan (ADP graduate student)

Dr. Joshua L. Brown
Co-Principal Investigator


Background

The transition from elementary to middle school is fraught with both opportunity and danger (Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1989; Eccles, Lord & Buchanan, 1996), especially for low-income children of color in urban schools (Seidman, 1991). On average, rates of health risk behaviors (e.g., aggression and delinquency, depression, substance use, and academic failure) increase during the early adolescent years (Cote, et al., 2002; Loeber, Stouthammer-Loeber & White, 1999; Tolan & Gorman-Smith, 2002). Underlying this average increase in health risk behaviors is great variability in individual patterns of change in developmental processes and in both adaptive and maladaptive behaviors (Rudolph, Kurlakowsky & Conley, 2001; Seidman & French, 2004). Fortunately, developmental science has uncovered much new information about these developmental pathways from childhood through early adolescence (Ciccetti & Rogosh, 2002). In addition, in the last decade, prevention science has begun to draw upon these developmental insights to inform both the design and rigorous evaluation of a broad range of preventive interventions (Durlak et al., in press).

Aims

This study aims to rigorously test the long-term influence of the 4Rs Program, a whole-school intervention that embeds strategies to promote conflict resolution skills and social-emotional learning in a “balanced literacy” reading curriculum, on trajectories of youth aggression/violence, school disengagement/failure, depression and substance use as they make the transition from elementary to middle school and into the first year of high school.

Method

This study is tracking and assessing over 800 youth who had previously been students in one of eighteen New York City public elementary schools that were part of a school-randomized, longitudinal evaluation of the 4Rs Program (i.e., 9 schools randomly assigned to receive 4Rs). Consented youth and their primary caregivers participate in one-on-one structured interviews typically in the youth’s home setting.

Results

This project is currently in the data collection phase.



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