This study examines differential effects of the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program on behavioral and academic outcomes of middle school students. Researchers administered screenings to grade 6 students to assess traumatic stress and then randomized those with elevated levels to the CBITS treatment ( n = 150) or comparison group ( n = 143). Analyses examined the overall impact of CBITS and differential effects among subpopulations of students who reported clinically significant externalizing ( n = 73) or internalizing behavior ( n = 181) at baseline. Results demonstrated that relative to counterparts in the comparison group, externalizers in CBITS reported significantly reduced post-traumatic stress, anxiety, anger, internalizing and externalizing problems, and total behavior problems, and they also significantly improved scores on a standardized literacy assessment at posttest. Students with internalizing behavior problems showed differential academic effects at 1-year follow-up; those in CBITS did significantly better on standardized math tests but significantly worse on a reading subtest than their counterparts.
This study examines the prevalence of trauma experiences and traumatic stress in a diverse group of Asian American middle school students from a large urban school district. Descriptive statistics document the mean number of self-reported trauma experiences and posttraumatic stress subscale scores and how these rates differ by students’ gender and Asian ethnic subgroups (including Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Samoan, Southeast Asian, and Other). Furthermore, we assess the degree to which 1 or more traumatic events is associated with students’ self-reported symptoms of severe traumatic stress and the types of traumatic events that are the most powerful predictors of elevated stress. These in-depth findings underscore the need for routine, school-based screening to identify and bring culturally competent, trauma-informed support and interventions to Asian American middle school students experiencing traumatic stress. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)
Abundant evidence demonstrates that traumatized adolescents are at increased risk of a host of negative psychoeducational and functional outcomes, but demographic disparities are often seen in access to and use of mental health services and supports. In light of this, the current study examines the prevalence of trauma experiences and traumatic stress in middle school students from a large urban school district serving a high proportion of diverse immigrant and low-income families. Descriptive statistics document the mean reported number of trauma experiences and posttraumatic stress subscale scores by participants’ sociodemographic variables. Inferential statistics report significant differences associated with race/ethnicity, gender, and type of trauma—including exposure as a victim or a witness. Results show complex and significant racial/ethnic group differences in the experience and symptomatology of trauma among the entire screened sample as well as the subset of youth with elevated distress. Furthermore, findings document the predictive value of particular trauma events related to early adolescents’ severity of self-reported traumatic stress. These in-depth findings underscore the need for routine, school-based screening to identify and bring culturally competent, trauma-informed support and interventions to middle school students experiencing traumatic stress.
Research in the area of school mental health (SMH) has undergone rapid evolution and expansion, and as such, studies require the use of diverse and emerging methodologies. In parallel with the increase in SMH research studies has been greater realization of the complex research methods needed for the optimal measurement, design, implementation, analysis, and presentation of results. This paper reviews key steps needed to effectively study SMH research questions. Considerations around research designs, methods for describing effects and outcomes, issues in measurement of process and outcomes, and the foundational role of school and community research partnerships are discussed within the context of SMH research studies. Ongoing developments within SMH research methods are presented as illustrative examples.
Implementation and sustainability of an evidence-based program: Lessons learned from the PRISM applied to first step to success
Although numerous studies address the efficacy of school-based interventions, fewer focus on how to support sustainability of interventions from the perspective of participants. To address this research gap, we use the Practical, Robust Implementation and Sustainability Model to examine how the characteristics of an evidence-based program interact with those of participants (i.e., students, parents, educators) to influence program implementation and continuation. Specifically, we consider lessons learned in one site of the national effectiveness study of First Step to Success which sustained implementation in a majority of participating schools after the study ceased. First, we analyze implementation fidelity and its effects on students’ behavioral and academic outcome data. Then, we analyze focus group and interview data collected from participants 2 years after initial implementation to consider contextual factors associated with continued program success, including (a) the nature of the intervention, (b) the external environment, (c) implementation and sustainability infrastructure, and (d) participant characteristics.
Does first step to success have long-term impacts on student behavior? An analysis of efficacy trial data
Abstract. First Step to Success (First Step; Walker et al., 1997, 1998) is a secondary-level intervention for students with behavior problems in early elementary school. The purposes of this study were to assess whether effects in student behavior and academics at posttest shown in a recent efficacy trial (Walker et al., 2009) were maintained at follow-up and to examine the relationship of implementation fidelity to outcomes. The findings showed that although First Step’s initial impact was significant and positive across all behavior and some academic measures, gains eroded 1 year after the intervention was withdrawn. Results are discussed in the context of students’ experience of yearly change in classroom environments, teachers’ variable behavioral expectations and perceptions, and the need for intervention maintenance plans to support sustainment of treatment effects.