BOX 1-2

Committee Charge

  • Review promising areas of research that contribute to the prevention of mental disorders, substance abuse, and problem behaviors among children, youth, and young adults (to age 25), focusing in particular on genetics, neurobiology, and psychosocial research as well as the field of prevention science.

  • Highlight areas of key advances and persistent challenges since the publication of the 1994 IOM report Reducing Risks for Mental Disorders: Frontiers for Preventive Intervention Research.

  • Examine the research base within a developmental framework throughout the life span, with an emphasis on prevention and promotion opportunities that can improve the mental health and behavior of children, youth, and young adults.

  • Review the current scope of federal efforts in the prevention of mental disorders and substance abuse and the promotion of mental health among at-risk populations, including children of parents with substance abuse or mental health disorders, abused and neglected children, children in foster care, children whose parents are absent or incarcerated, and children exposed to violence and other trauma, spanning the continuum from research to policy and services.

  • Recommend areas of emphasis for future federal policies and programs of research support that would strengthen a developmental approach to a prevention research agenda as well as opportunities to foster public- and private-sector collaboration in prevention and promotion efforts for children, youth, and young adults, particularly in educational, child welfare, and primary care settings.

  • Prepare a final report that will provide a state-of-the-art review of prevention research.

the 1994 IOM report, Reducing Risks for Mental Disorders: Frontiers for Preventive Intervention Research, with special attention to the research base and program experience with younger populations since that time (see Box 1-2 for the complete charge). The committee was asked to focus on populations through age 25. As mentioned above, most MEB disorders have their origins before this age, and most individuals have adopted adult roles by age 25 (Furstenberg, Kennedy, et al., 2003). In this way, this report differs from the 1994 IOM report, which included the entire life span.


The committee’s charge references “mental disorders, substance abuse, and problem behaviors.” “Mental disorders” are defined by a cluster of symptoms, often including emotional or behavioral symptoms, codified in

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