. "6 Family, School, and Community Interventions." Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2009.
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Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities
Intervention Development Workgroup of the National Institute of Mental Health has recommended the development and testing of Internet-based preventive interventions focused on many disorders and many languages (Hollon, Muñoz, et al., 2002). The potential of media-based interventions for the prevention of MEB disorders warrants additional research.
Meta-analyses and numerous randomized controlled trials have demonstrated strong empirical support for interventions aimed at improving parenting and family functioning. Interventions focused on reducing aggressive behavior, avoiding substance use, reducing HIV risk, securing permanent foster care placement, and dealing with difficult family situations such as divorce have all produced beneficial effects. The interventions emphasize improving communication; promoting positive parenting techniques, such as parents’ supportive behaviors toward their children; reducing the use of harsh discipline practices; and increasing parental monitoring and limit setting. Many interventions have demonstrated effects on multiple problem behaviors, shown positive effects in both prevention and treatment contexts, and produced lasting effects.
Generic efforts to improve parenting skills in families with children and early adolescents could have benefits in preventing a range of problem behaviors, particularly externalizing behaviors. This possibility deserves more exploration through assessment of the impact of family interventions on the entire range of child and adolescent problems.
Substantial development of empirically validated school-based programs that can reduce risk for MEB disorders in young people has also occurred. Many of these interventions focus on promoting positive child behavior or preventing behavior problems, with some positive results targeting MEB disorders more specifically. Interventions are often designed to address risk and protective factors associated with violence, aggression, and substance use. Many tend to focus on skill development to improve students’ relationships, self-awareness, and decision-making skills. Some programs have also focused on school structural factors, teacher classroom management, or school–family relations.
Universal, selected, and indicated interventions have been developed for both school and family settings, with some programs including multilevel interventions. Studies have shown differential results in terms of effectiveness with different risk groups. There are some indications that interventions provided on a CD-ROM can be effective at reducing risk of alcohol use, particularly with parent involvement (Schinke, Schwinn, et al., 2004). Some studies have demonstrated better results for higher-risk groups, while