Grant: $21,472 - National Institutes of Health - Jun. 5, 2009
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Award Description: This AREA project investigates how contextual approaches to assessment can enhance our understanding of child psychopathology and our ability to interpret and predict children's responses to psychoeducational intervention. In contrast to widely used syndromal approaches, which emphasize the overall rate of children's problem behaviors, contextual approaches emphasize the patterning of children's behavior over different social contexts and how often children experience those contexts. Recent evidence suggests that despite their prominence in the field, syndromal measures can fail to detect individual differences among children in the social situations that elicit their behavior and may hamper efforts to predict who will show enduring benefits from treatment. The specific aims of the research described in this proposal are: 1) to investigate how well syndromal versus contextual assessment methods reveal children's responses to treatment and predict durability of treatment effects across settings 2) to investigate gender differences in the contextual patterning of children's problem behaviors and how they may be linked to differential treatment response and 3) to develop efficient, multi-informant contextual rating methods. We will collect data on 360 children with emotional and behavioral problems before, during, and after an intensive 45-day summer treatment program. Teachers and parents will provide syndromal and contextual ratings of behavior problems in the spring and in the fall of the following school year. Counselors will provide those same ratings at three points during the summer. They will also complete hourly behavioral observations during the summer. Counselors, teachers and parents will also provide impressions of change. This AREA project will provide high quality research training for numerous future mental health researchers and professionals. It will also provide current researchers, clinicians, and educators with tools to better detect treatment effects that are context-specific yet potentially important, better evaluate why interventions impact children differently, and better predict the transfer or non-transfer of treatment gains to other settings. Contextual assessment methods should also improve communication between parents, teachers, clinicians, and other professionals by clarifying how and why behavior so often differs over settings (e.g., home, school, therapy).
Project Description: 'These 5 students received daily supervision in clinical assessment and program evaluation research in an applied research setting. The overarching goal of the parent grant is to utilize contextual assessment methods to better understand behavior change in response to short-term residential treatment. This summer's goals were to transition from behavioral observations to more efficient paper and pencil contextual assessments, increase sample size to better enable age and gender comparisons, and transition the research program at the collaborating site to a smaller more sustainable scale that would be less dependent on external funding. Together the student research assistants helped to 1) develop/manage the research database on 150 children; 2) train 15 research liaisons in sociometric interviewing, contextual and syndromal assessment; 3) administer, score, and interpret two sociometric interview administrations using Excel and Splus; 4) provide feedback to liaisons (and clinical teams) on sociometric interview findings; 5) prepare assignments and materials for three staff assessment administrations (103 staff in total) using syndromal assessments (TRF), contextual assessments (BETA), and assessments of change (assessment 3 only); 6) manage data collection for staff assessments; 7) complete data entry and processing for staff administrations utilizing optical scanning, Excel, and Splus; 9) provide clinical feedback to supervisors on TRF/BETA 1 and 2; Sociometric 1 and 2; and Assessments of change; 10) provide technical support/personnel support/information to clinical setting as needed; 11) Work as a team to delegate tasks and accomplish weekly objectives; and 12) develop leadership and project management skills and knowledge. To complete this work, additional computer workstations were purchased. Two Dell desktop computers and monitors as well as two Dell laptop computers were needed to support the project and the student's work. '
Jobs Summary: This grant supported 5 summer research positions in the summer of 2009. A research coordinator position was created, and four research assistant positions were retained due to the availability of these grant funds. The research coordinator position was filled by a Connecticut College student in the period between her graduation and her obtainment of full-time permanent employment. The other positions were filled by undergraduates from Connecticut College, Harvard University, St. Anselm College, and University of Texas. The research coordinator worked full-time from 6/27-8/10. The research assistants worked 4 hours per day in research from 6/27-8/21/09 and spent their remaining hours working with a clinical group at the agency where the research was based (Wediko Children's Services). The research coordinator was paid directly through Connecticut College. The research assistants were paid through Wediko Children's Services. The reimbursement of Wediko Children's Services for the student hours spent in research is currently being processed. (Total jobs reported: 5)
Project Status: More than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jun. 5, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.