Los Angeles City College launched the STEM Pathways program in 2016 with funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The intent of the STEM Pathways program was to improve students’ STEM degree completion and transfer to 4-year colleges, particularly for low-income and Latinx students, through a variety of supports. The STEM Learning Center, a drop-in peer tutoring program offering students assistance in STEM courses, was one of the grant’s most-used supports. This report presents findings from a quasi-experimental study to estimate the impact of the STEM Learning Center on STEM course success and continuation in STEM. SRI found positive effects of STEM Learning Center participation on students’ STEM outcomes, in terms of increased STEM credits and STEM continuation.
Student behavior publications
Measuring the Impact of Trauma-Focused, Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy with Middle School Students
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.
Factors Affecting Mental Health Service Utilization among California Public College and University Students: Who Accesses Resources and Who Doesn’t?
Unmet need for mental health treatment among college students is a significant public health issue. Despite having access to campus mental health providers and insurance to cover services, many college students do not receive necessary services. This study examined factors influencing college students’ use of mental health services.
Online survey data for 33,943 students and 14,018 staff and faculty at 39 college campuses in California were analyzed by using logistic regressions examining the association between students’ use of mental health services and student characteristics, campus environment, and the presence of a formal network of campus mental health clinics.
Nineteen percent of students reported current serious psychological distress in the past 30 days, and 11% reported significant mental health-related academic impairment in the past year. Twenty percent reported using mental health services while at their current college, 10% by using campus services and 10% off-campus services. Students on campuses with a formal network of mental health clinics were more likely than students at community colleges to receive mental health services (odds ratio [OR] range=1.68-1.69), particularly campus services (OR=3.47-5.72). Students on campuses that are supportive of mental health issues were more likely to receive mental health services (OR=1.22), particularly on campus (OR=1.65). Students with active (versus low) coping skills were consistently more likely to use mental health services.
Establishing more campus mental health clinics, fostering supportive campus environments, and increasing students’ coping skills may reduce unmet need for mental health services among college students.
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.
Evaluation of California’s Statewide Mental Health Prevention and Early Intervention Programs: Summary of Key Year 2 Findings
This report summarizes key findings from the second year of an evaluation of the California Mental Health Services Authority’s statewide prevention and early intervention programs.
California College and University Collaborations: Facilitators, Challenges, and Impact on Student Mental Health
Reports on an evaluation of student mental health collaboration activities among California higher education systems, community agencies, and county mental health.
California K–12 and Community Collaborations: Facilitators, Challenges, and Impact on Student Mental Health
Reports on an evaluation of student mental health collaboration activities among California K–12 school districts, counties, and regions.
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.
In this paper, we propose an implementation science research agenda as it applies to school mental health (SMH). First, we provide an overview of important contextual issues to be considered when addressing research questions pertinent to the implementation of mental health interventions in schools. Next, we critically review three core implementation components: (a) professional development and coaching for school professionals regarding evidence-based practices (EBPs); (b) the integrity of EBPs implemented in schools; and (c) EBP sustainment under typical school conditions. We articulate research questions central to the next generation of research in each of these areas as well as methods to address such questions. Our intent in doing so is to contribute to a developing blueprint to guide community-research partnerships as well as funding agencies in their efforts to advance implementation science in SMH.