• By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Wednesday 15th July, 2009

It's bad science if it's just plain dull

No doubt about it, create the right ground conditions and prevention programs will reduce teenage smoking or help children to make friends more easily and improve their academic attainment.The fact that these modest advances have yet to have widespread impact is largely due to the slow progress toward getting proven approaches into mainstream practice and policy. The barriers are subtle but formi…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Tuesday 14th July, 2009

Clues to the evidence maze – this might work

One positive side effect of the credit crunch has been to concentrate minds on accountability. Evidence-based initiatives proliferate and are increasingly sought after partly because, by definition, they can make a good account of their performance. So it’s good news for prevention science, but it means policy makers face new responsibilities. They are accountable, too; how are they to choose re…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Monday 13th July, 2009

Laying new foundations for the evidence base

“Evidence-based’” means too many different things to too many people. Prevention expert Del Elliott, Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado, proved the point some years ago when he compared the overlap across eight databases of evidence-based violence prevention programs. Not one appeared on all eight lists and just a single example made…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Friday 10th July, 2009

Thinking big? Think carefully

Recent findings from the National Study of Delinquency Prevention in Schools show that those wishing to use prevention programs that seek to shape the school environment must be properly prepared. Although it may be possible to implement individual-focused interventions, like counseling, successfully with limited support, wide scale initiatives are doomed to failure without the right conditions, e…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Thursday 09th July, 2009

Mixed rewards for joining the club

Cub scouts, youth clubs, church groups, football teams - parents have long believed that sending their children off to do organized activities was harmless fun or that it might even do them some good. However, new research from the US suggests it’s not quite so simple.A team of psychologists from the University of Rochester looked at how the behavior and academic achievement of 2,500 children fr…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Wednesday 08th July, 2009

Ethnic background colors influence of friends

It’s plain to see that as children move into their teenage years, they spend less time with family, and friends become an increasingly important part of their lives. Friends and classmates can be a huge influence on all children’s behavior.But new research, published in the Journal of Adolescence, suggests that the influence of friends depends, to a degree, on a child’s cultural background.…

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  • By Matthew C. Jonas
  • Posted on Tuesday 07th July, 2009

Proof at last for 26-year-old Positive Action

The recent trial in Hawaii of a social and character development curriculum - that has been in action in schools across the globe for nearly a quarter of a century - finally provides solid evidence that it helps children keep clear of sex, drugs and violence.Positive Action aims to improve academic achievement and behavior. It has been in use since 1982, and is now in 13,000 schools across the US.…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Monday 06th July, 2009

Norman Glass, architect of Sure Start, dies aged 63

Norman Glass, progenitor of the UK flagship prevention project Sure Start, has died at the age of 63. Naomi Eisenstadt, Director of the UK Social Exclusion Unit, and Prevention Action’s executive editor Michael Little, pay tribute to the former director of the National Centre for Social Research. Naomi Eisenstadt:“I first met Norman early in 1998 when he was leading the Comprehensive Spending…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Friday 03rd July, 2009

Combining Columbine Lessons

Picking through the debris of Columbine, experts from universities, government, and even the Secret Service have given their advice about how to respond to a potential repeat. Few, however, have combined these valuable recommendations with the evidence about what helps prevent young people from becoming aggressive in the first place. Speaking at the Social Research Unit’s Annual Lecture, Del Ell…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Thursday 02nd July, 2009

The man with only half a mountain left to climb

If the mountain is getting scientists to talk to policy makers and practitioners, then Delbert Elliott is somewhere near the summit. Several times this week he has spoken to an audiences of people representing all interests in children's services in England and Ireland. All have one goal in mind – better outcomes for children, and all agree on one mechanism for achieving that goal – evidence b…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Thursday 02nd July, 2009

Birmingham learns how to overcome evidence challenges

Elliott’s work on violence prevention emerged from the death of 15 people at Columbine High School in Jefferson County Colorado, near to the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, the research center he now heads. Since the Columbine tragedy one of the center's major projects has been to create a database of 'model' programs with watertight proof that they reduce violence. Staff have s…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Tuesday 30th June, 2009

Blueprints emerge from Columbine wreckage

Crisis can become a catalyst for considered change. That has been the experience of Del Elliott, editor and founder of the premier database on effective violence prevention programs, Blueprints.On Tuesday 20th April, a decade ago, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into their school in Columbine, Colorado and killed 12 of their fellow students and one teacher. Another 24 were injured. Harris and…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Monday 29th June, 2009

Bullying programs given theoretical going over

A recent systematic review of bullying prevention initiatives from around the world has found that a program designed by Dan Olweus from the University of Bergen is the most effective. The intervention – and others based on similar principles – regularly reduce the incidence of bullying by 20-23%, the review found.The program is grounded in three decades of research by the Norwegian preventio…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Friday 26th June, 2009

Mental health screening cutting off prevention blood supply?

Until recently screening young offenders for mental health issues was unusual in the US. Thomas Grisso - Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts - has been one of the researchers at the forefront of a shift that has seen such assessments go from rare to routine. Nevertheless, in a presentation to the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health’s (ACAMH) in London earlie…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Thursday 25th June, 2009

Chicago study seals the health and education connection

Latest findings from a long-term study of children’s educational progress in Chicago suggest that social-emotional learning programs should not only be the cornerstone of educational policy, but of health policy too. A research team, including Arthur Reynolds from the Institute of Child Development at University of Minnesota, has found a strong association between educational achievement and lat…

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