First through fourth graders from 22 suburban elementary schools were screened for cross-setting disruptive behavior as eligibility criteria for participation in a longitudinal secondary prevention study aimed at reducing the risk for serious externalizing behavioral disorders. Three hundred nine subjects participated in either a multicomponent competence enhancement intervention (MCEI) or an information/attention control (IAC) condition over a 2-year period. Following baseline measurements, initial intervention effects were assessed at the end of intervention Year 1, at the beginning of intervention Year 2 (fall of the next school year), and at the end of intervention Year 2. Multisource assessments were not supportive of the efficacy of the MCEI over the IAC condition. Children in both groups rated themselves as improved over time in terms of increased adaptive skills and decreased school problems and internalizing symptoms. Teacher and parent ratings of externalizing behavior did not yield evidence of positive change, but teachers noted improved problem solving and observers noted a decrease in behavioral interference in both groups over time, possibly as a result of maturation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by Grant MH-46584 from the National Institute of Mental Health. The authors express thanks to the participating staff of schools from the Anoka-Hennepin, Burnsville, Edina, Osseo, and Robbinsdale school districts. The hard work of Tamara Joyce, Kathi Sturm, Ann Brombach, Donna Klemenhagen, Jay Sieler, Monica Frazer, Brian Owens, and other members of the MnCEP staff is also deeply appreciated. Finally, we are indebted to the children and families serving as subjects.
- Competence enhancement intervention
- Disruptive behavior
- Secondary prevention