A meta-analysis of after-school programs that seek to enhance the personal and social skills of children and adolescents indicated that, compared to controls, participants demonstrated significant increases in their self-perceptions and bonding to school, positive social behaviors, school grades and levels of academic achievement, and significant reductions in problem behaviors. The presence of four recommended practices associated with previously effective skill training (SAFE: sequenced, active, focused, and explicit) moderated several program outcomes. One important implication of current findings is that ASPs should contain components to foster the personal and social skills of youth because youth can benefit in multiple ways if these components are offered. The second implication is that further research is warranted on identifying program characteristics that can help us understand why some programs are more successful than others.
If we keep on doing what we have been doing, we are going to keep on getting what we have been getting. Concerns about the gap between science and practice are longstanding. There is a need for new approaches to supplement the existing approaches of research to practice models and the evolving community-centered models for bridging this gap. In this article, we present the Interactive Systems Framework for Dissemination and Implementation (ISF) that uses aspects of research to practice models and of community-centered models. The framework presents three systems: the Prevention Synthesis and Translation System (which distills information about innovations and translates it into user-friendly formats); the Prevention Support System (which provides training, technical assistance or other support to users in the field); and the Prevention Delivery System (which implements innovations in the world of practice). The framework is intended to be used by different types of stakeholders (e.g., funders, practitioners, researchers) who can use it to see prevention not only through the lens of their own needs and perspectives, but also as a way to better understand the needs of other stakeholders and systems. It provides a heuristic for understanding the needs, barriers, and resources of the different systems, as well as a structure for summarizing existing research and for illuminating priority areas for new research and action.
In this paper we draw on the findings of a critical, multi-sited ethnographic study of two rural communities affected by a wildfire in British Columbia, Canada to examine the salience of place, identity, and social capital to the disaster recovery process and community disaster resilience. We argue that a reconfiguration of disaster recovery is required that more meaningfully considers the role of place in the disaster recovery process and opens up the space for a more reflective and intentional consideration of the disorientation and disruption associated with disasters and our organized response to that disorientation. We describe a social-psychological process, reorientation, in which affected individuals and communities navigate the psychological, social and emotional responses to the symbolic and material changes to social and geographic place that result from the fire’s destruction. The reorientation process emphasizes the critical importance of place not only as an orienting framework in recovery but also as the ground upon which social capital and community disaster resilience are built. This approach to understanding and responding to the disorientation of disasters has implications for community psychologists and other service providers engaged in supporting disaster survivors. This includes the need to consider the complex dynamic of contextual and cultural factors that influence the disaster recovery process.
For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, coming out (i.e., disclosure of LGBT identity to others) can be a key developmental milestone, one that is associated with better psychological well-being. However, this greater visibility may come with increased risk of peer victimization. Being out, therefore, may reflect resilience and may unfold differently depending on ecological context as some spaces may be more or less supportive of LGBT youth than others. This article explores a model of risk and resilience for outness among LGBT youth, including whether it varies by community context. We tested our hypothesized model with a national dataset of 7,816 LGBT secondary school students using multi-group structural equation modeling. Consistent with our hypotheses, outness was related to higher victimization but also to higher self-esteem and lower depression. Greater victimization was related to negative academic outcomes directly and indirectly via diminished well-being. The increases in victimization associated with outness were larger for rural youth, and benefits to well-being partly compensated for their lower well-being overall. This article suggests that being out reflects resilience in the face of higher risk of victimization, in addition to promoting well-being in other ways. Nonetheless, contextual factors influence how this model operates among LGBT youth.
An individual or organization that sets out to implement an innovation (e.g., a new technology, program, or policy) generally requires support. In the Interactive Systems Framework for Dissemination and Implementation, a Support System should work with Delivery Systems (national, state and/or local entities such as health and human service organizations, community-based organizations, schools) to enhance their capacity for quality implementation of innovations. The literature on the Support ystem has been under-researched and under-developed. This article begins to conceptualize theory, research, and action for an evidence-based system for innovation support (EBSIS). EBSIS describes key priorities for strengthening the science and practice of support. The major goal of EBSIS is to enhance the research and practice of support in order to build capacity in the Delivery System for implementing innovations with quality, and thereby, help the Delivery System achieve outcomes. EBSIS is guided by a logic model that includes four key support components: tools, training, technical assistance, and quality assurance/quality improvement. EBSIS uses the Getting To Outcomes approach to accountability to aid the identification and synthesis of concepts, tools, and evidence for support. We conclude with some discussion of the current status of EBSIS and possible next steps, including the development of collaborative researcher-practitioner-funder-consumer partnerships to accelerate accumulation of knowledge on the Support System.
I argue that distinct conditions of justice lead to diverse wellness outcomes through a series of psychosocial processes. Optimal conditions of justice, suboptimal conditions of justice, vulnerable conditions of injustice, and persisting conditions of injustice lead to thriving, coping, confronting, and suffering, respectively. The processes that mediate between optimal conditions of justice and thriving include the promotion of responsive conditions, the prevention of threats, individual pursuit, and avoidance of comparisons. The mechanisms that mediate between suboptimal conditions of justice and coping include resilience, adaptation, compensation, and downward comparisons. Critical experiences, critical consciousness, critical action, and righteous comparisons mediate between vulnerable conditions of injustice and confrontation with the system. Oppression, internalization, helplessness, and upward comparisons mediate between persisting conditions of injustice and suffering. These psychosocial processes operate within and across personal, interpersonal, organizational and community contexts. Different types of justice are hypothesized to influence well-being within each context. Intrapersonal injustice operates at the personal level, whereas distributive, procedural, relational, and developmental justice impact interpersonal well-being. At the organizational level, distributive, procedural, relational and informational justice influence well-being. Finally, at the community level, distributive, procedural, retributive, and cultural justice support community wellness. Data from a variety of sources support the suggested connections between justice and well-being.
The goal of this paper is to introduce community gardening as a promising method of furthering well-being and resilience on multiple levels: individual, social group, and natural environment. We examine empirical evidence for the benefits of gardening, and we advocate the development and testing of social ecological models of community resilience through examination of the impact of community gardens, especially in urban areas. The definition of community is extended beyond human social ties to include connections with other species and the earth itself, what Berry (1988) has called an Earth community. We discuss the potential contribution of an extensive network of community gardens to easing the global climate change crisis and address the role of community psychologists in community gardening research and policy-oriented action.
Psychological empowerment has been theorized as a construct with emotional, behavioral and cognitive components. Yet, many studies have stressed that empowerment processes are contingent on interpersonal relationships. Moreover, theory suggests that power is developed and exercised through relationships. This article makes the case that expanding our conceptions of psychological empowerment through the addition of a relational component can enhance our understanding of psychological empowerment and the effectiveness of empowerment-oriented community practice. Previous research on empowerment is reviewed for relational content, and additional insights into the relational context of empowerment processes are marshaled from other concepts in community research including social capital, sense of community, social networks, social support, and citizen participation. A new iteration of the nomological network for psychological empowerment is presented, including the elements of a relational component.
Youth-adult partnership (Y-AP) has become a phenomenon of interest to scholars and practitioners. Despite the potential of Y-AP to promote positive youth development, increase civic engagement, and support community change, the practice remains unfamiliar to many. Although research has increased over the past decade, the construct remains vague with an insufficient grounding in developmental theory and community practice. This article seeks to address these gaps by synthesizing data and insights from the historical foundations of Y-AP, community based research, and case study. We propose Y-AP as a unifying concept, distinct from other forms of youth-adult relationships, with four core elements: authentic decision making, natural mentors, reciprocity, and community connectedness. We conclude that Y-AP functions as an active ingredient and fundamental practice for positive youth development and civic engagement. Directions for future research are offered.
Research suggests that increasing egalitarian relations between young people and adults is optimal for healthy development; however, the empirical assessment of shared control in youth–adult partnerships is emerging, and the field still requires careful observation, identification, categorization and labeling. Thus, our objective is to offer a conceptual typology that identifies degrees of youth–adult participation while considering the development potential within each type. We use an empowerment framework, rooted in evidence-based findings, to identify five types of youth participation: (1) Vessel, (2) Symbolic, (3) Pluralistic, (4) Independent and (5) Autonomous. The typology is constructed as a heuristic device to provide researchers, practitioners and policy-makers with a common language for articulating degrees of youth participation for optimal child and adolescent health promotion.
This study examines the roles of childhood neglect and childhood poverty (family and neighborhood) in predicting Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), academic achievement, and crime in young adulthood. Using existing data from a prospective cohort design study, 1,005 children with documented histories of neglect (N = 507) and matched controls (N = 497) were interviewed in young adulthood (mean age 29). Official criminal histories were also used to assess outcomes. Data were analyzed using logistic and ordinary least squares regressions and hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) to control for neighborhood clustering. Results from HLM revealed that childhood neglect and childhood family poverty uniquely predicted PTSD and adult arrest, MDD was predicted only by childhood family poverty, and a significant interaction between childhood family poverty and childhood neighborhood poverty predicted academic achievement for the control group only. Childhood neglect, childhood family poverty, and childhood neighborhood poverty each contribute to poor outcomes later in life. While interventions should be developed for neglected children to prevent negative outcomes, the current findings suggest that it is also important to consider the ecological context in which these children are growing up.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with numerous risk behaviors and mental health outcomes among youth. This study examines the relationship between the number of types of exposures to ACEs and risk behaviors and mental health outcomes among reservation-based Native Americans. In 2011, data were collected from Native American (N = 288; 15–24 years of age) tribal members from a remote plains reservation using an anonymous web-based questionnaire. We analyzed the relationship between six ACEs, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, physical and emotional neglect, witness to intimate partner violence, for those <18 years, and included historical loss associated symptoms, and perceived discrimination for those <19 years; and four risk behavior/mental health outcomes: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, depression symptoms, poly-drug use, and suicide attempt. Seventy-eight percent of the sample reported at least one ACE and 40 % reported at least two. The cumulative impact of the ACEs were significant (p < .001) for the four outcomes with each additional ACE increasing the odds of suicide attempt (37 %), poly-drug use (51 %), PTSD symptoms (55 %), and depression symptoms (57 %). To address these findings culturally appropriate childhood and adolescent interventions for reservation-based populations must be developed, tested and evaluated longitudinally.
Collective efficacy is defined as residents’ perceived collective capacity to take coordinated and interdependent action on issues that affect their lives. This study explored factors associated with neighborhood collective efficacy among residents. Utilizing a national sample of 4,120 urban households provided by Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connection Initiative, we investigated the mediating role of residents’ perceptions of bonding social capital (i.e. reciprocity, trust, and shared norms) in the association between civic engagement and collective efficacy. Multiple regression analyses revealed that civic engagement and bonding social capital were both directly related to collective efficacy. Additionally, bonding social capital partially mediated the relationship between civic engagement and collective efficacy. Specifically, residents who reported greater levels of civic engagement also reported higher levels of bonding social capital. In turn, residents who reported higher levels of bonding social capital also reported higher levels of neighborhood collective efficacy. We discuss implications of these findings for researchers and practitioners interested in associations of neighborhood collective efficacy.
A heterosexist campus climate can increase risk for mental health problems for sexual minority students; however, the relationship between campus climate for sexual minorities and academic outcomes remains understudied. Using a sample of sexual minority respondents extracted from a campus climate survey conducted at a large university in the Midwest, we examine relationships between multiple dimensions of psychological and experiential campus climate for sexual minorities with academic integration (academic disengagement, grade-point average [GPA]) and social integration (institutional satisfaction, acceptance on campus). We also investigate the protective role of engagement with informal academic and peer-group systems. Findings suggest campus climate affects sexual minority students’ integration. In multivariate analyses, perceptions of whether lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people could be open about their sexual identity was positively associated with acceptance on campus; personal heterosexist harassment was positively associated with academic disengagement and negatively with GPA. Students’ informal academic integration (instructor relations) and informal social integration (LGB friends) demonstrated influential main effects but did not moderate any of the climate-outcome relationships. Researchers should further explore the relationships between climate and academic outcomes among sexual minority students, both collectively and among specific sub-groups, and address the role of other protective factors.
Social disorganization theory suggests that certain school-level indictors of disorder may be important predictors of bullying-related attitudes and behaviors. Multilevel analyses were conducted on bullying-related attitudes and experiences among 22,178 students in 95 elementary and middle schools. The intraclass correlation coefficients indicated that 0.6–2% of the variance in victimization, 5–10% of the variance in retaliatory attitudes, 5–6% of the variance in perceptions of safety, and 0.9% of the variance in perpetration of bullying was associated with the clustering of students within schools. Although the specific associations varied somewhat for elementary schools as compared to middle schools, the hierarchical linear modeling analyses generally suggested that school-level indicators of disorder (e.g., student–teacher ratio, concentration of student poverty, suspension rate, and student mobility) were significant predictors of bullying-related attitudes and experiences. Student-level characteristics (i.e., sex, ethnicity, status in school) were also relevant to students’ retaliatory attitudes, perceptions of safety, and involvement in bullying. Implications for school-based research and violence prevention are provided.
This study examines youth initiated mentoring (YIM), a new approach to mentoring in which youth nominate mentors from among the non-parental adults within their existing social networks (e.g., teachers, family friends, extended family members). YIM is currently being implemented through the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program (NGYCP), an intensive residential intervention program for youth ages 16–18 who have dropped out or been expelled from high school. This study employed a mixed methods explanatory design, drawing on quantitative data from a national longitudinal evaluation of NGYCP (N = 1,173) and qualitative data from a subsample of participants (N = 30) in the evaluation. Results indicated that more enduring mentoring relationships were associated with increased retention of educational, vocational, and behavioral outcomes 3 years following entry into the study. Qualitative data suggested that, when relationships endured, mentors contributed to improvements in participants’ educational and occupational success, quality of relationships with parents, peers, and others, and self-concept by providing social-emotional support, instrumental support, and guidance. Results also revealed that relationships were more likely to endure when youth chose their mentors on their own (rather than receiving help from parents or program staff) and when mentors were of the same race as youth. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
Neighborhood is a social and geographic concept that plays an increasingly important role in research and practice that address disparities in health and well-being of populations. However, most studies of neighborhoods, as well as community initiatives geared toward neighborhood improvement, make simplifying assumptions about boundaries, often relying on census geography to operationalize the neighborhood units. This study used geographic information system (GIS) tools to gather and analyze neighborhood maps drawn by residents of low-income communities in 10 cities. The median resident map size was approximately 30 percent smaller than the median census tract, but 25 percent of residents viewed their neighborhood as quite small (less than one-fifth of the typical census tract). Multi-level modeling showed significant within context variation in perceived neighborhood scale. Longer term residents with higher education and income and who were more engaged in the neighborhood held more expansive views. But there were also contextual influences with higher density and mixed use areas associated with smaller perceived neighborhoods, and higher collective efficacy associated with larger neighborhood sizes. Artificially imposed neighborhood units may misrepresent resident experience, but GIS tools can be used to craft more authentic neighborhood definitions for research and practice.
A cross-domain latent growth curve model was used to examine the trajectories of change in student perceptions of four critical dimensions of school climate (i.e., teacher support, peer support, student autonomy in the classroom, and clarity and consistency in school rules and regulations) among 1,451 early adolescents from the beginning of sixth through the end of eighth grade; and the effects of such trajectories on the rate of change in psychological and behavioral adjustment. Findings indicated that all of the dimensions of perceived school climate declined over the 3 years of middle school. Furthermore, declines in each of the dimensions of perceived school climate were associated with declines over time in psychological and behavioral adjustment. Moreover, the direction of effects between each dimension of perceived school climate and psychological or behavioral adjustment were often unidirectional rather than bi-directional, underscoring the role of perceived school climate in the psychological and behavioral health of early adolescents. Gender and socioeconomic class differences in these patterns are noted.
This paper offers a conceptual framework for establishing a science of transdisciplinary action research. Lewin's (1951) concept of action research highlights the scientific and societal value of translating psychological research into community problem-solving strategies. Implicit in Lewin's formulation is the importance of achieving effective collaboration among behavioral researchers, community members and policy makers. The present analysis builds on Lewin's analysis by outlining programmatic directions for the scientific study of transdisciplinary research and community action. Three types of collaboration, and the contextual circumstances that facilitate or hinder them, are examined: (1) collaboration among scholars representing different disciplines; (2) collaboration among researchers from multiple fields and community practitioners representing diverse professional and lay perspectives; and (3) collaboration among community organizations across local, state, national, and international levels. In the present analysis, transdisciplinary action research is viewed as a topic of scientific study in its own right to achieve a more complete understanding of prior collaborations and to identify strategies for refining and sustaining future collaborations (and their intended outcomes) among researchers, community members and organizations.
The cultural tailoring of interventions to reach underserved groups has moved from descriptive and proscriptive models to their application with existing evidence based treatments. To date few published examples illustrate the process of cultural adaptation. The current paper documents the adaptation of an evidence based parent training intervention, Parent Management Training—Oregon Model (PMTO™), for Spanish-speaking Latino parents using both process (Domenech Rodríguez and Wieling in Voices of color: first-person accounts of ethnic minority therapists, Sage, Thousand Oaks, 2004) and content (Bernal et al. in J Abnorm Child Psychol 23:67–82, 1995) models. The adaptation took place in stages: a pilot study to ensure feasibility, focus groups to establish appropriate format and goals, and a test of the intervention. Throughout the process the treatment manual was treated as a living document. Changes were applied and documented as the team developed improvements for the adaptation. The present discussion details both process adaptations, (e.g., engaging the treatment developer, community leaders, and parents, and decentering the manual), and content adaptations, (e.g., shaping the appropriateness of language, persons, metaphors, concepts, contexts, methods, and goals). The current research provides support for the idea that cultural adaptations can improve service delivery to diverse groups and can be conducted systematically with documentation for replication purposes. Suggestions for improving the empirical measurement and documentation of the adaptation process are included.