Elementary school social development intervention leads to better-functioning young adults



XTL Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. has announced the top-line results from the Bicifadine Phase 2b clinical trial for the treatment of diabetic neuropathic pain. The trial’s primary objective was to compare the efficacy of two doses of Bicifadine against placebo in reducing pain associated with diabetic neuropathy. The primary endpoint of the study was the reduction in

Full Post: XTL Biopharmaceuticals announces results from Bicifadine in diabetic neuropathic pain trial

A social development intervention administered in elementary school appears to have positive effects on mental health, sexual health and educational and economic achievement assessed 15 years after the intervention ended, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Unemployment, poverty and disorganized neighborhoods are common problems plaguing U.S. cities, according to background information in the article. Many urban families and children must contend with crime, drug use, teen pregnancy, school dropouts and mental health problems. “Public schools, available to all children in the United States beginning at age 5 or 6 years, are a potentially powerful setting for preventive intervention,” the authors write.

J. David Hawkins, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Washington, Seattle, studied the long-term effects of one such prevention program, the Seattle Social Development Project. “The objective of the intervention was to improve the skills of teachers, parents and children to increase positive functioning in school and decrease problems related to mental health, risky sexual behavior, substance use and criminal behavior,” the authors write. Beginning in fall of 1981, some first-grade students in Seattle elementary schools began the program, which was eventually expanded to 15 public elementary schools serving diverse neighborhoods. Parents, teachers and students in the intervention received special instruction in areas such as behavior management, refusal, social skills training and academic development.

At ages 24 and 27, childhood participants completed a self-assessment of their school, work and community life, along with their mental health, sexual behavior, substance use and crime. Court records were also referenced. A total of 598 young adults (146 who began the intervention in first grade, 251 who began the intervention in grades five or six and 201 in a control group who did not receive the intervention) completed the 15-year follow-up at age 27.

Participants who received the full intervention reported improved functioning in almost all areas assessed. No differences were observed in rates of substance abuse or crime. However, compared with the control group, those who participated in the intervention:

  • Were more likely to be at or above the median in educational attainment or household income
  • Were more likely to have continued their education beyond high school
  • Reported higher levels of community involvement and volunteerism
  • Had fewer symptoms of mental health disorders, and any mental health problems they reported were lower in magnitude
  • Had a lower prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases

“A universal intervention for urban elementary schoolchildren, which focused on classroom management and instruction, children’s social competence and parenting practices, positively affected mental health, sexual health and educational and economic achievement 15 years after the intervention ended,” the authors conclude.

(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162[12]:1133-1141.

http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/

Link




In a pair of related studies released by Seattle Children’s Research Institute and published in the January 2009 issue of Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, researchers found that 54 percent of adolescents frequently discuss high-risk activities including sexual behavior, substance abuse or violence using MySpace, the popular social networking Web site (SNS). The studies,

Full Post: Many teens discuss health risk behaviors on social networking websites



With childhood obesity increasing, school administrators and public health officials are reducing availability of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) in schools. In a study published in the November/December 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, researchers found that reduction or elimination of SSB from school menus has little effect on total consumption by adolescents.

Full Post: Elimination of sugar-sweetened beverages from school menus shown not to affect total consumption by adolescents



Attending a high quality pre-school followed by an academically effective primary school gives a significant boost to children’s development. These are the findings of a new study which shows that a stimulating early years home-learning environment also provides a sound foundation on which these experiences build. The Effective Pre-school and Primary Education Project (EPPE 3-11)

Full Post: Good pre-school and home-learning boosts academic development



Elementary school students will eat more whole grains when healthier bread products are gradually introduced into their school lunches, a new University of Minnesota study shows. Whole grain breads are strongly recommended as part of a healthy diet, but children and pre-teens won’t always eat them. For this study, researchers from the university’s department of

Full Post: Young children eat more whole grains when it’s gradually added to school lunch



Adolescent health risk behaviors often occur together, suggesting that youth involvement with one risk behavior may inform understanding of other risk behaviors, but in a study to examine the association between involvement in non-sexual risk behaviors and trends among sexual behaviors, Mailman School of Public Health researchers found that sexual behaviors vary considerably between those

Full Post: Trends in sexual behaviors similar for teens who take few health risk and those who take many