What can be done? Fortunately, some promising inroads have been made toward helping these children. Interventions with children in the early elementary grades have been very effective in reducing children 's negative social attributions and aggressive interactions with peers (see Asher, 1985; Asher et al., 1996; Bond and Compas, 1989; Eisenstadt et al., 1993; Forehand et al., 1982; Kazdin, 1993; Olweus, 1991, 1993). Work with preschoolers, such as that of Webster-Stratton and others (Kaiser and Hester, 1997; Odom et al., 1994), which is generally focused on parenting but is increasingly moving into child care environments, is also emerging (see Box 7-1) and should be a high priority for future intervention research. Interventions that focus on multiple early environments and multiple peer groups may be more promising than those that are directed at only one setting. Moreover, different manifestations of antisocial behavior in the early years (e.g., isolated conduct disorder, conduct disorder accompanied by hyperactivity) may require different approaches. Growing recognition that young children can engage in relatively sophisticated thinking about

BOX 7-1

Mental Health Research Initiative Within Head Start

In 1997, the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) created a research consortium on the prevention, identification, and treatment of children 's mental health disorders in a Head Start context. The initial five studies are exploring:

  • The validity of an early screening project for a diverse group of families, including African-American, European-, Hispanic-, and Native Americans.

  • The efficacy and the effectiveness of an intervention designed to both prevent and address severe behavior problems in preschool children.

  • The effectiveness of an early detection and prevention intervention designed to improve the mental health of Head Start children and their families.

  • The frequency, in Head Start 3-year-olds, of behavioral and communication problems that place these children at risk of developing conduct disorders, and the effectiveness of an intervention designed to improve children's social and communication skills.

  • How external influences, such as type of neighborhood, exposure to violence, and child care and family characteristics, affect the emotional health of children.

SOURCE: ACYF/NIMH Collaborative Mental Health Research Initiative(2000).

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