hood, entry into marriage, and loss of a spouse; precursor signs and symptoms, prodromal periods, age periods just prior to when a specific mental disorder is most likely to occur; and the effects of race, ethnicity, and gender. Well-designed preventive intervention research trials might be conducted with these populations during the follow-up, as long as the goal of obtaining benchmark estimates of epidemiological data, especially in regard to developmental transitions, is not threatened. The population laboratory could be established as a branch in the intramural program of NIMH, although there are advantages to making it a multiagency project funded through agreements among DHHS agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), and departments such as the Departments of Justice, Education, and Defense. It could also be established as a unit outside the federal government funded through a special mechanism. An extragovernmental advisory panel, including experts in epidemiology, psychopathology, and prevention, should be formed to provide continuing scientific oversight to the population laboratory. Data from investigations of the population laboratory should be made available in anonymous form in a regular and timely fashion.

  • Whenever possible, research proposals relevant to the knowledge base for preventive interventions should explicitly state this connection, such as identification of potentially modifiable risk factors and possible avenues for preventive interventions. This requirement should be applied across all federal agencies, and especially to research proposals funded from the additional support recommended by this committee. This clarification of relevance to prevention will help decrease confusion regarding definitions of prevention research and lead to findings relevant to preventive interventions.

  • Treatment intervention research conducted under rigorous methodological standards that is directly relevant to preventive intervention research should continue to be supported—but not from the prevention research budget. The criteria for “direct relevance” should be reviewed by prevention researchers. Collaboration between treatment researchers and prevention researchers should be fostered. Principles from treatment research can and should be borrowed for use in prevention. Specialty areas in treatment research that are likely to yield payoffs for preventive intervention research include clinical psychopharmacology, cognitive-behavior therapy, and applied behavior analysis.



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