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.

increase healthy functioning. While the evidence on the costs and benefits of interventions is limited, it suggests that many are likely to have benefits that exceed costs.

In addition, a number of interventions have demonstrated efficacy to reduce risk for children exposed to serious adversities, such as maternal depression and family disruption. Like family adversities, poverty is a powerful risk factor, and its reduction would have far-reaching effects for multiple negative mental, emotional, and behavioral outcomes. Numerous policies and programs target poverty as a risk factor by giving priority to low-income children and their families and by promoting resources for healthy functioning of those living in poverty through, for example, early childhood education programs, programs to strengthen families and schools, and efforts to reduce neighborhood violence.

The 1994 IOM report expressed hope that identification of the genetic

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