11 June 2015

Complex, multi-faceted problems faced by abused and neglected children demand well-considered, multi-faceted solutions. Recognizing this, the US State of Massachusetts is attempting an ambitious transformation of services for children whose “complex trauma” threatens their life chances through poor mental health.

03 June 2015

Alcohol and tobacco use are legal for adults in most countries around the world. Preventive interventions with children and young people must realistically focus on delaying first use and promoting responsible use, rather than abstinence, according to the originator of a life skills program in Germany.

27 May 2015

Recent research suggests that, four years after implementation, the Communities that Care approach improved youth outcomes by encouraging communities to use a science-based approach to prevention.

21 May 2015

Parents whose babies are born prematurely often come under sudden and lasting stress, with potential implications for their child’s later development, including behavior problems. Norwegian researchers have demonstrated how early intervention can help.

15 May 2015

Where randomized control trials are viewed as a “gold standard” for research, some have called systematic reviews (SRs) a “platinum standard.” Reviews aim to be the go-to source for policymakers interested in a particular topic. So it’s crucial that they give more credit to robust study designs, and less credit to weaker ones. A recent appraisal of SRs suggests that some do – and some don’t.

06 May 2015

Constructing an evidence base for prevention programs takes time and patience. But accumulating results can transform their practical value for service planners – as demonstrated by a new study of KEEP, an established parenting intervention for foster carers.

24 April 2015

Incredible Years Parent Training has been studied time and again for its potential to treat and prevent children’s behavior problems. Many studies have found that it is effective. Some have found that it isn’t. A new meta-analysis draws the evidence together to determine when IY works best.

16 April 2015

Effective parenting skills programs are known to have enduring positive effects on children’s health and wellbeing. Research now shows how the long-term benefits can include better attitudes when it comes to raising their own children.

04 April 2015

Better results happen when therapists stick to the program. So the question follows: what helps therapists adhere to treatment protocols? In a recent Swedish study of Multisystemic Therapy, the more experienced the team as a whole, the better the adherence.

25 March 2015

Most studies of implementation look at whether facilitators cover the material in the program manual. But they tend to neglect the role of competence in delivery. A recent study of a school anti-bullying program found that the teachers who taught with warmth and praise, and who covered the material clearly, were the ones who got the best results.

20 March 2015

Untreated mental health problems in youth can have damaging lifelong consequences. Training staff in schools to identify students with psychiatric disorders, offer support and connect them with specialist help has the potential to prevent the accumulation of long-term negative effects.

12 March 2015

Life Skills Training (LST) is a substance misuse prevention program used by schools in all 50 US States and 35 different countries. What explains its popularity? Thirty years of careful attention to evidence and rigorous evaluation, say the originators.

Young child screaming with joy. Photocredit: Eldad Yitzhak /

Young child screaming with joy. Photocredit: Eldad Yitzhak /

02 October 2015 | Research

While cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often the “go-to” treatment for anxiety disorders among teenagers, there has been little to suggest it works well with younger children. Researchers in Manchester, England are intent on changing that by merging CBT methods into a promising new program where parents get the intervention and over-anxious children get the benefits.

21 September 2015 | Research

Advertisers decided years ago that texting provides a cheap, effective way to target large numbers of young people. A review of research using text messages to combat substance use suggests prevention scientists might usefully follow their example.

14 September 2015 | Research

Schools seem an obvious place to prevent anxiety and other, less common emotional problems among youth. Yet persuading teaching staff to make precious curriculum time available can prove difficult. Might a program that reduces test and exam anxieties prove the key to opening classroom doors?

11 August 2015 | Research

Quality of parenting has long been recognized as a crucial influence on childhood behavior and overall mental health. But could parenting interventions increase their value by paying more attention to children’s choices, initiative taking and sense of autonomy? Canadian research makes the case for further investigation.

20 July 2015 | Frontpage

In a study of Australian local government, public health decision makers said that they relied more on community views than on research evidence, and more on data produced internally than that published in peer-reviewed journals. What stops them from making decisions informed by more academic evidence?

29 June 2015 | Research

Many parents who believe in corporal punishment are unaware of the psychological as well as physical harm that spanking causes children. Exposing them to the facts provides a quick and easy way of persuading some, at least, to change their minds.

17 June 2015 | Research

Programs usually work better if they are implemented as the designers intended. So which teachers are most likely to do this? A recent study of the Responsive Classroom approach found little direct relationship between fidelity and teachers’ experience, education, or skills. But when they looked at teachers’ engagement with training, they found one tantalizing clue.

Most popular

11 May 2010 | What Works

The family systems approach that underpins parenting programs such as Multisystemic Therapy, Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care and Functional Family Therapy may have a value in the treatment of juvenile sex offending, psychologists at the Medical University of South Carolina suggest.

01 May 2007 | What Works

Results of introducing an American parenting program to parts of Wales under the aegis of the well-established UK prevention initiative, Sure Start, have been so encouraging that they pose important challenges to makers of UK policy.

20 April 2011 | What Works

A popular program for helping children with language learning difficulties is found to have no impact and even detrimental effects in some cases.

20 December 2012 | What Works

Schools invest scarce time and money to put a stop to bullying and end the misery that it inflicts on children. Can they trust that the programs they adopt really work? Maybe not, according to reviews of the evidence. However, a new study encouragingly finds that one program makes a small but reliable difference.

04 April 2013 | Research

Children abused by adults are known to be at increased risk of developing the serious and persistent mental illness known as borderline personality-disorder (BPD). New research suggests that bullying and victimization by other children is another important risk factor.

23 May 2011 | What Works

How can we reduce the criminal behavior of juvenile offenders? We do know which programs work and which don’t, two South Carolina researchers claim, yet fewer than 5% of juvenile offenders in the US receive evidence-based programs.

Search form

Advertise here

Subscribe to our newsletter

Click here to subscribe to the Prevention Action Newsletter.

Monthly archive

Editor's Picks

There is more to the international transfer of prevention programs than just hitting the “copy and paste” buttons. The introduction of the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program to Ireland offers insights into how to succeed.

Few people working with children will have heard the term “prevention scientist,” let alone know what one is or does. Yet this relatively new breed of researcher is behind the growing list of evidence-based programs being promoted in western developed countries. A new publication puts them under the microscope.

Crime and antisocial behavior prevention efforts have flourished over the last 10 years in the US. This progress can and should be used to help communities improve the life chances of their young people, a recent update urges.

Given the well-known barriers to implementing evidence-based programs, is it better to identify their discrete elements and trust practitioners to combine them in tailored packages depending on the needs of the child and family in question?

The final official review on child protection offers a shakeup of services.