HHS/ASPE. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.Background

What Challenges Are Boys Facing and
What Opportunities Exist to Address Those Challenges?

Annotated Bibliography

July 2008

This bibliography is available on the Internet at:
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/boys/Biblio/

Printer Friendly Version in PDF Format (52 pages)

Project Page

Contents

Helping America’s Youth

Throughout this bibliography certain programs have been highlighted in red [linked to http://www.helpingamericasyouth.gov/]. For more information about these programs, please visit the Helping America’s Youth website at http://www.helpingamericasyouth.gov/ and go to the Community Guide tab and click on the Community Guide to Helping America’s Youth link to find these programs.

Introduction

This annotated bibliography is the result of a comprehensive review of literature on the strengths and challenges that affect boys ages 10 through 18. Cited on the list are scholarly journal articles and government documents.

The annotations included here aim not only to describe the main thrust of each document but also to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, including the focus of its authors and its value and relevance to the field.

Theoretical Approach

The literature review for this annotated bibliography adopted an ecological systems framework to examine the multiple influences on boys’ development. Simply put, this framework sees boys’ development as being influenced by overlapping systems: their individual characteristics, their families, their peers, their school environments, and their communities. Each of these systems affects boys in different ways, and the systems interact with and influence one another as well.

How the Annotated Bibliography Was Created

The literature search included computer searches of the major bibliographic databases (e.g., PsychINFO, MEDLINE/PubMed, EBSCOhost) looking, in particular, for two primary types of studies:

  1. Epidemiological studies that attempt to discover what factors make boys more or less prone to certain outcomes, and
  2. Intervention studies that test whether certain programs or approaches increase boys’ likelihood of success.

The literature search was limited to scholarly journal articles and government documents and did not include dissertations, master’s theses, or meeting abstracts. Though the terms are not exhaustive, using the key terms boys, adolescents, youth, meta-analysis, and review articles along with substance abuse, mental health, education, mortality, victimization, employment, juvenile delinquency, and constructive use of time, several procedures were used separately to find as many empirical studies as possible. These search methods led to both quantitative and qualitative research studies.[1] The primary sources identified in this way were then examined for other references to appropriate sources. To search for other studies that evaluate whether particular strategies to help boys actually work, an additional search was conducted of online Federal directories of promising and best practices that have been shown to build boys’ strengths and address the challenges they face.

Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria

To decide whether to include an article or document in the bibliography, the following criteria were used:

In sum, this annotated bibliography aims to provide evidence-based scholarly work that highlights the challenges boys face and investigates what strengths, such as the positive influence that caring adults in families, schools, and communities can have on the well-being of boys and young men.

How the Annotated Bibliography Is Organized

This bibliography is organized by each of the seven domains.  The domains are presented in alphabetical order. In addition, within each domain, the citations are organized alphabetically by the last name of the lead author who is identified by title, affiliation, and field of interest.  Where full text journal articles are available to the public, the authors’ abstract have modified and are so noted in those annotations.  In addition, annotations of evaluations of interventions or programs are separated out within each domain. Finally, if an annotation is relevant to two or more domains, it is included in each domain.

[ Go to Contents ]

Domains

Constructive Use of Time

Bernat, D. H., & Resnick, M. D. (2006). Healthy youth development: Science and strategies. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, November (Suppl.), S10–S16.
This article provides a review of the history, science, and practice of healthy youth development. The authors discuss risk factors, protective factors, and resiliency at different ecological levels (individual, family, peer, school, and community). Risk factors are elements and experiences in an adolescent’s life that can jeopardize healthy development. Protective factors, on the other hand, are events or experiences that increase the likelihood of positive outcomes. Both risk and protective factors can influence one another in many ways. Resiliency, the process in which individuals show positive outcomes despite adversity, helps mediate risk and protective factors. The article also describes some of the critical elements of youth development programs. The authors believe these programs should be informed by relevant theories or validated best practices, including research findings regarding how protective factors may work for different ethnic groups. The researchers also suggest implementing multilevel interventions that reduce risk factors while simultaneously promoting protective factors, thus increasing the likelihood of sustained positive results beyond the narrow focus of one or a few risk behaviors. Finally, the researchers call for rigorous evaluation of youth development programs to examine whether the programs work to produce desired outcomes and for whom they work. Dr. Bernat is a research fellow at the Healthy Youth Development Prevention Research Center at the Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Daniels, E., & Leaper, C. (2006). A longitudinal investigation of sport participation, peer acceptance, and self-esteem among adolescent girls and boys. Sex Roles, 55, 875–880.
This study examined the relationship between sports participation, peer acceptance, and self-esteem among the 10,500 participants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The sample for this study included 5,811 boys and 4,689 girls, ages 12 to 21. For boys, there was a strong positive link among the three factors, which the authors attribute to a societal emphasis on athleticism for boys. In school, athletic boys are often among the most popular, and sports can be linked to boys’ feelings of self-worth. However, results found that the relationship between participating in sports and having higher self-esteem was affected by whether peers looked at the sport favorably. Dr. Daniels is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her areas of research interest include gender, social acceptance, adolescence, and athletic participation.
Darling, N., Bogat, G. A., Cavell, T. A., Murphy, S. E., & Sánchez, B. (2006). Gender, ethnicity, development, and risk: Mentoring and the consideration of individual differences. Journal of Community Psychology, 34, 765–780. [PDF - 16 pages]
This article presents the factors that influence the success or failure of mentoring relationships. Gender plays a big role in the success or failure of mentoring relationships. Boys seemed to benefit more from mentors who taught specific skills, versus those who tried to foster an emotional relationship. Boys who were recommended to receive mentors generally needed a male role model, and the relationships had a good rate of success. In one study, over 70 percent of men who were mentored as a child (i.e., the Big Brothers program) considered their mentor a significant adult in their life whereas only 26 percent of women did so.  Race, culture, and ethnicity were also factors in mentoring relationships, with most adolescents responding better to mentors to whom they can culturally relate. Findings also suggest that mentoring programs should be clear about their goals and match mentors with youth carefully and appropriately.  Dr. Darling is an associate professor of psychology at Oberlin University in Ohio. Her research focuses on how adolescents influence and are influenced by various social relationships, and how they interact to change the course of individual development.
Duncan, S. C., Duncan, T. E., Strycker, L. A., & Chaumeton, N. R. (2002). Relations between youth antisocial and prosocial activities. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 25, 425–438. [PDF - 14 pages]
This study explores the relationship between prosocial and antisocial behaviors in youth. In this study, the authors surveyed 356 mostly White 10-, 12-, and 14-year-olds (179 boys and 177 girls) to determine whether adolescents’ prosocial and antisocial activities affected their behavior in other areas. Prosocial activities included sports, organized activities, volunteering, and religious activities. Antisocial activities included substance abuse, stealing, and lying. Results show that students engaged in prosocial activities, especially sports, were less likely to use drugs or participate in delinquent behaviors and were more likely to participate in other prosocial activities. These students were also more likely to be living in two-parent households that had higher incomes. Youth who were involved in substance abuse were more likely to engage in other delinquent behaviors. The intended audience for this paper includes other social science researchers as well as health and youth policymakers. Dr. Duncan, a scientist at the Oregon Research Institute, is a member of the Prevention and Health Behavior Group at the Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health. 
Ealey, S., Wituk, S., Schultz, J., Usher, J., Meissen, G., & Pearson, R. (2006). The Community Development for Healthy Children Initiative. Journal of Community Practice, 14, 129–138. [You must pay to view/download]
This study evaluated the Community Development for Healthy Children initiative, which seeks to promote youth involvement and engagement by using three primary strategies:  (1) a multimedia campaign, (2) technical assistance and support of local communities, and (3) minigrant opportunities. The goal of the evaluation was to examine the extent to which the initiative made a difference across the State of Kansas in four areas: raising awareness of positive adult-youth interaction; actions on behalf of youth; adult-youth interaction; and youth involvement in decision making. Surveys and interviews with initiative participants were used to assess the initiatives’ successes and challenges. Results indicate that the initiative achieved positive outcomes in each of the four areas noted above. The initiative was especially successful in creating an environment that helped adults have a better understanding of youth and become more accepting of youth and their ability to become involved in new ways. The authors noted that the initiative could be easily adapted or modified based on local interests, strengths, and talents. Dr. Ealey is a research associate and project facilitator at Wichita State University, Self-Help Network, Center for Community Support and Research.
Eccles, J. S. (1999). The development of children ages 6 to 14. Future of Children, 9, 30–44. [PDF - 15 pages]
This study examines the developmental changes that occur during the ages of 6 to 14 and highlights ways in which the organization of programs, schools, and family life better support positive outcomes for youth. The author discusses the physical, emotional, and psychological changes that affect youth as they navigate the middle-childhood years. Children’s reasoning is transformed during this stage of development, and they shift from total dependence on their family to an increased reliance on peers and adults in the school and community. Results suggest that out-of-school programs may be very beneficial for youth during this stage of development. Such programs may provide youth with a setting where they can express their individuality, master new skills, and seek emotional support from adults. Out-of-school programs that offer mixed-age groups and activities that highlight effort rather than competition can support the youth’s confidence in their ability to be productive members of their communities. Finally, the author suggests that such programs can offer youth developmentally appropriate activities that allow them leadership opportunities that recognize and respect youth’s increasing maturity. Dr. Eccles is professor of psychology, education, and women’s studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is particularly interested in the role schools, families, neighborhoods, and ethnicity play in the development of motivational systems.
Ferguson, K. M., Dabir, N., Dortzbach, K., Dyrness, G., & Spruijt-Metz, D. (2006). Comparative analysis of faith-based programs serving homeless and street-living youth in Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Nairobi. Children and Youth Services Review, 28, 1512–1527.
The aim of this article is to identify how faith-based organizations around the world use faith, religion, and spirituality in serving homeless youth. The authors interviewed staff and clients of faith-based organizations working with homeless youth in Los Angeles, California; Mumbai, India; and Nairobi, Kenya. The study found that across these three programs, faith and religion play important roles in the way faith-based organizations function; all the programs reported that they provide clients with a moral code of behavior, hope for the future, and direction and that they have a structure that honors various faith traditions. In addition, the study found that positive program outcomes—such as changes in a client’s feelings, environment, status, skills, knowledge, behavior, and attitudes—were comparable across the three programs. The first author is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. The author’s research interests include vulnerable children, homeless and street youth, and social and spiritual capital.
Ferguson, K. M., Wu, Q., Dyrness, G., & Spruijt-Metz, D. (2007). Perceptions of faith and outcomes in faith-based programs for homeless youth: A grounded theory approach. Journal of Social Service Research, 33, 25–43. [You must pay to view/download]
This article examines how faith-based organizations use faith, religion, and spirituality in providing services to homeless youth as well as whether youth benefit from these programs. Participants included 11 faith-based organizations serving youth in Los Angeles.  Both surveys and in-depth interviews were used to collect data from program staff and youth participants. Results indicate the concept of faith was used to build relationships with youth and to instill a sense of hope; religion was used to teach new information and connect youth with services; and spirituality was used to teach youth about honesty, forgiveness, love, and self-control. Outcomes for youth included improved emotional feelings, health status, and skills (e.g., computer, reading, anger management). Dr. Ferguson is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. The author’s research interests include vulnerable children, homeless and street youth, and social and spiritual capital.
Hamilton, S. F., Hamilton, M. A., Hirsch, B. J., Hughes, J., King, J.,  & Maton, K. (2006). Community contexts for mentoring. Journal of Community Psychology, 34, 727–746. [You must pay to view/download]
In this article, the authors state the case for natural mentoring in community contexts. This form of mentoring involves relationships that develop naturally, in familiar environments, rather than being forced to grow through the formality of a mentoring program. The authors discuss four environments in which children and adults normally associate: classrooms, youth development organizations (such as the Boys Club or YMCA), work or community service, and faith-based organizations. The authors review the literature, noting the intellectual, social, physical, psychological, and emotional benefits for children who have a positive relationship with an adult in each of these environments. Dr. Hamilton is professor of human development and associate director of the Family Life Development Center at Cornell University. His primary research interests include adolescent development, education, transitioning to adulthood, and fostering natural mentoring.
Huebner, A. J., & Mancini, J. A. (2003). Shaping structured out-of-school time use among youth: The effects of self, family, and friend systems. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 32, 453–463. [PDF - 11 pages]
This article explores the predictors of adolescent participation in four types of structured out-of-school activities; volunteering, extracurricular activities, clubs, and religious organizations. Data were collected from 509 students in grades 9 through 12 in 2 rural, ethnically diverse high schools. Forty-seven percent of the sample was male, and 54 percent of the youth were European American. Involvement in structured activities was assessed via a four-item survey that asked the youth to respond to how often they spent their time in each structured activity. Results indicate that a variety of factors were related to how adolescents spent their out-of-school time. Parental support significantly predicted whether the youth participated in extracurricular activities; peer pressure significantly predicted participation in nonschool clubs. Parents’ economic status, marital status, and parental monitoring were significant predictors of whether the youth participated in volunteer activities. Finally, participation in religious activities was shaped by having parents who were married, having friends who also participated, being female, and race/ethnicity (e.g., African-American youth participated in religious activities more than any other racial/ethnic group). Dr. Huebner is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Falls Church , Virginia. Her major research interest is in out-of-school opportunities for youth.
Jekielek, S. M., Moore, K. A., Hair, E. C., & Scarupa, H. J. (2002). Mentoring: A promising strategy for youth development (Research Brief). Washington, DC: Child Trends. [PDF - 8 pages]
This study evaluated ten national and District of Columbia based mentoring programs for their effectiveness and influence on youth development.  The authors used experimentally designed evaluations to judge five of these programs, while the other five were assessed using non-experimental analysis.  The study focused on three major areas where mentoring could improve an at-risk adolescent’s life: educational achievement, health and safety, and social and emotional development.  Result show that at-school, mentored youth have better attendance and attitudes, an increased likelihood they will go to college, and better social interactions.  Minority boys especially noted feeling more emotionally supported.  While mentored adolescents also are less likely to initiate substance and alcohol use, results show there is no change in tobacco use.  Mentoring relationships are more effective the longer they last, and can adversely affect a youth if the duration of the relationship is too short.  Findings offer suggestions to enhance mentoring programs including their need for structure and thoughtful matching of mentors with protégés.  Child Trends is an independent, nonpartisan research center focused exclusively on emerging trends and issues that affect children. 
Larson, R., Dworkin, J., & Gillman, S. (2001). Facilitating adolescents’ constructive use of time in one-parent families. Applied Developmental Science, 5, 143–157. [You must pay to view/download]
This study investigates the positive effects that single-parent households may have on the development of children and adolescents. Cross-sectional data were collected from 101 mother-only families and analyzed to evaluate what factors create a positive single-parent family and result in adolescents’ constructive use of time. Adolescents ranged in age from 10 to 19. Five factors—family management, mothers’ use of time, mothers’ emotional well-being, mothers’ employment, and cooperation between mother and father—were examined. Results show that a consistent family routine and a mother’s firm parenting were significantly and positively related to adolescents’ constructive use of their free time. It was also found that children are more likely to read and participate in religious activities if their mother does so as well. If a mother and father maintained a good relationship, their children were more likely to be involved in sports. Dr. Larson is a professor of human development and family studies and directs the Youth Development Research Project at the University of Illinois. 
McHale, J. P., Vinden, P. G., Bush, L., Richer, D., Shaw, D., & Smith, B. (2005). Patterns of personal and social adjustment among sport-involved and noninvolved urban middle-school children. Sociology of Sport Journal, 22, 119–136. [You must pay to view/download]
The authors use data about child and adolescent participation in organized team sports to evaluate strategies to keep young people constructively occupied. The authors surveyed 423 seventh-grade students (216 males and 207 females) about their experiences with sports and the activities’ effects on their self-esteem, behavior, and drug use. The youth attended school in the economically disadvantaged, high-crime area of Worcester, Massachusetts. The authors used interviews and a self-reported questionnaire on self-esteem, drug use, and delinquent activity. Teachers were also asked to rate peer behavior of the participants. Boys reported higher levels of self-esteem than girls. Both boys and girls involved in sports reported higher self-esteem than their peers who did not play sports. Fewer sports-playing boys reported using marijuana than boys with no involvement in team sports. Dr. McHale is an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include community psychology, family diversity, and primary prevention.
Nebbitt, V. E., Lombe, M., & Lindsey, M. A. (2007). Perceived parental behavior and peer affiliations among urban African American adolescents. Social Work Research, 31, 163–169. [You must pay to view/download]
In this article, the authors examine the effects of parenting behavior on adolescents’ choice of peer groups, and they also assess the effects of age and gender on the relationship between parenting behavior and youths’ friendships. Researchers surveyed 238 African-American adolescents living in urban public housing projects. Girls reported significantly higher parental supervision than boys. No gender differences were found for parental encouragement and support. Results suggest that parental supervision and encouragement may have a protective effect against adolescents becoming friends with delinquent youths. The authors suggest that these findings may have implications for social work practice. Dr. Nebbitt is an assistant professor of social work at Howard University. His research focuses on the relationship between neighborhood risk and protective factors and health outcomes among adolescents.
Pedersen, S. (2005). Urban adolescents’ out-of-school activity profiles: Associations with youth, family, and school transition characteristics. Applied Developmental Science, 9, 107–124. [You must pay to view/download]
This study examined adolescents’ participation over time in school-based activities, religion, and team sports and the factors that predict engagement in these activities. Data were collected in four waves, each two years apart, from 1,430 inner-city youth in two cohorts: a “younger” cohort (i.e., in their final year of elementary school at Wave 1) and an “older” cohort (i.e., in their last year of middle school at Wave 1). Across waves, the majority of participants were girls and the most commonly reported race/ethnicity was Latina. Results show that participation in school-based activities decreased during adolescence while participation in religious activities increased. Three general profiles of participation were found: (1) above-average participation in multiple domains (i.e., school, religion, and/or sports); (2) above-average engagement in one domain; and (3) low participation. Parental unemployment predicted low or decreasing engagement in these activity domains. Dr. Pedersen is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Montreal’s Research Unit on Children’s Psychosocial Maladjustment.
Porterfield, S. L., & Winkler, A. E. (2007). Teen time use and parental education: Evidence from the CPS, MTF, and ATUS. Monthly Labor Review, 130, 37–56. [PDF - 20 pages]
This study used data from the Current Population Survey to examine trends in teen employment during the 1995-1996, 1999-2000, and 2003-2004 school years for adolescents between the ages of 16 and 19. In addition, data from the 1975-1976 and 2003-2004 Monitoring the Future survey and the 2003 and 2004 American Time Use Survey were used to look at trends in teen time use. Results show that the teen employment rate fell in the years under study. More specifically, the employment rate for boys dropped from 33 percent in the 1995–1996 school year to 25 percent in the 2003–2004 school year. The most commonly reported ways in which teens spend their time were watching television, social activities, and sports or exercise. Over the past several decades, the percentage of students engaged in community or volunteer service has increased. Adolescents from families with more highly educated parents spend more time on homework, extracurricular activities, hobbies, reading, and writing. Dr. Porterfield is an associate professor of social work in the School of Social Work at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.
Scales, P. C., Roehlkepartain, E. C., Neal, M., Kielsmeir, J. C., & Benson, P. L. (2006). Reducing academic achievement gaps: The role of community service and service learning. Journal of Experiential Education, 29, 38–60. [You must pay to view/download]
The authors identify several factors—such as socioeconomic status (SES), community service and service learning, and academic achievement—that have been linked to a range of indicators of adolescent well-being. In this study, the authors used diverse data from 217,000 middle and high school students to examine the relationships among SES, community service and service learning, and academic success. First, principals were asked describe their perception of the effect of service learning on academics and other social outcomes. Next, students were asked to provide information about their service to others, duration of service learning, grades, and demographics. Results show that principals of urban schools, high poverty schools, and schools with mostly minority students were more likely to say that service learning has a positive effect on academics. Findings suggest that community service and service learning appear to be related to a smaller gap in academic outcomes between low- and high-SES students. Dr. Scales, a senior fellow at the Search Institute, is a developmental psychologist whose research interests include adolescent development, family life, effective schools, and healthy communities.
Sinha, J. W., & Cnaan, R. A., Gelles, R. J. (2007). Adolescent risk behaviors and religion: Findings from a national study. Journal of Adolescence, 30, 231–249. [PDF - 41 pages]
The study sought to determine whether and to what extent religion plays a role in buffering risk behaviors in adolescents (e.g., substance use, truancy, and sexual activity). Participants were a nationally representative sample of 2,004 youth, ages 11 to 18, residing at home. The authors measured the young people’s involvement in organized religious activities as well as attitudes toward religion. The study found that teens who placed a high value on religion and religious participation were less likely to engage in risky behaviors, irrespective of age or other social and demographic factors. The authors caution that this study does not investigate how and whether religious teachings are internalized and shape behavior; they do not suggest that religiosity and religious participation protect youth from engaging in risky behaviors. However, the authors suggest that prevention programs that collaborate with or are offered by local religious congregations are important partners in supporting healthy youth development. The first author is a postdoctoral visiting fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. The author’s research interests include faith-based social services, and the role and impact of religion or faith in adolescents’ attitudes, behaviors, and life choices.

Constructive Use of Time — Interventions/Programs

Tebes, J. K., Feinn, R., Vanderploeg, J. J., Chinman, M. J., Shepard, J., Brabham, T., et al. (2007). Impact of a positive youth development program in urban after-school settings on the prevention of adolescent substance use. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41, 239–247.
This study examines the effectiveness of an afterschool positive youth development (PYD) program for urban, minority adolescents at risk for substance use and other problem behavior. Previous research has shown that unsupervised out-of-school time is associated with various negative youth outcomes, including criminal behavior and substance use. The PYD program in this study used an 18-session, evidence-based approach to teach substance use prevention skills. The program also included health education and cultural heritage activities. The study compared 149 adolescents in the intervention group with 155 adolescents in a control group. Adolescents in the intervention group were significantly more likely to view drugs as harmful and showed significantly lower substance use 1 year after beginning the program. Dr. Tebes is an associate professor of psychology at the Psychiatry and Child Study Center at Yale University. His research focuses on the prevention and treatment of mental illness.

[ Go to Contents ]

Education

Alexander, K. L., Entwisle, D. R., & Kabbani, N. S. (2001). The dropout process in life course perspective: Early risk factors at home and school. Teachers College Record, 103, 760-822.
This study uses a life course perspective to examine the school dropout process using data from the Baltimore School Study (BSS), a long-term panel-study that monitors the educational and life process of a representative sample of children.  According to self-reports, 42 percent of the 729 BSS students dropped out of school before graduation with the majority leaving school before completion of 10th grade. Boys in the BSS were at greater risk of dropout. The researchers noted several risk/resource factors in 3 domains related to dropout rates; social (i.e., poverty status, family dynamics, change in the family, sex, and race), academic (i.e., repeating a grade, special education services), and personal (i.e., parental support, student attitude). Researchers examined the interaction of the domain factors and their relationship to high school dropout rates over time.  The risks and resources present at early levels of schooling predicted dropout rates almost as well as those present later in schooling.  The findings may help to identify key points from 1st through 9th grade that are primed for dropout prevention and intervention programs.  Dr. Alexander is a professor of sociology at the Johns Hopkins University. His research seeks to identify features of the home, the school, and the individual that seem to promote or impede positive school adjustment.
Alexander, K. L., Entwisle, D. R., & Olson, L. S. (2001). Schools, achievement, and inequality: A seasonal perspective. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 23, 171–191.
This longitudinal study examined how home and community influences are related to academic achievement gaps between students of upper and lower socioeconomic status (SES). Study participants were a racially diverse, random sample of 790 children from 14 predominantly low-income and 6 predominantly middle-class schools in Baltimore, Maryland. Reading and math tests were administered each spring from first through fifth grades to measure in-school gains and each fall to measure summer gains. Analytic models (e.g., hierarchical linear modeling) were used to calculate the rate of academic growth over the 5-year investigation. Results showed that lower SES students lagged behind higher SES students in first grade on reading and math scores, and by fifth grade they were farther behind. Boys’ rate of growth lagged significantly behind girls. Although the boys were 9 years old at the end of the study, the authors suggest that these outcomes may have relevance for boys ages 10 to 18. Dr. Alexander is a professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University. His research seeks to identify features of the home, school, and individual that promote or impede positive school adjustment.
Bali, V. A., & Alvarez, R. M. (2003). Schools and educational outcomes: What causes the "race gap" in student test scores? Social Science Quarterly, 84, 485–507.
The authors analyzed test scores of students in the Pasadena (California) Unified School District to determine whether school policies, class size, percentage of teachers with full credentials, number of computers per student, percentage of teachers who represent minority groups, and school programs that target students with special talents or academic disadvantages affect test scores differently for different racial groups. The authors found that a high rate of credentialed teachers had the most significant effect on test scores, benefiting all students in both reading and math. However, school policies on credentialing did not close the race gap because nonminority students also benefited. Factors found to close the race gap slightly included reduced class size (for Hispanic and nonminority students); higher number of school computers per 100 students (for Hispanic students); and racial/ethnic diversity of teachers, which benefited Hispanic students in math and reading and African-American students in math, but which negatively affected nonminority students. These findings reflect those of other studies that examine racial differences in achievement scores (Ferguson, 1998; Meier, Wrinkle, & Polinard, 1999). Dr. Bali is an assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University. Her current research focuses on the politics of grade retention policies.
Bloom, B., & Cohen, R. A. (2007). Summary health statistics for U.S. children: National Health Interview Survey, 2006. Vital Health Statistics, 10, 234, 1–79.
This report summarizes health statistics from the 2006 National Health Interview Survey for American children, in which more than 29,000 households were interviewed, including 10,000 children younger than age 18. The survey includes information on asthma, allergies, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), prescription medication use, respondent-assessed health status, school-loss days, and utilization of healthcare services. Overall, 82 percent of children were considered to be in excellent or good health. Overall good health was related to coming from families with higher income and with health insurance. In addition, the survey indicated that boys are more likely than girls to have been diagnosed with asthma (16 percent compared with 11 percent), to have a learning disability (10 percent compared with 6 percent), to have a diagnosis of ADHD (11 percent compared with 4 percent), and to have received regular prescription medications for at least 3 months (15 percent compared with 12 percent). The report does not address mental health or drug abuse issues. Dr. Bloom is a staff member of the Division of Health Interview Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Catalano, R. F., Haggerty, K. P., Oesterle, S., Fleming, C. B., & Hawkins, J. D. (2004). The importance of bonding to school for healthy development: Findings from the Social Development Research Group. Journal of School Health, 74, 252–261.
Summarizing two longitudinal studies (the Seattle Social Development Project and Raising Healthy Children), these authors evaluated the importance of school connectedness on a variety of problem and positive behaviors among children and adolescents. The study also discussed the theoretical importance of school connectedness and the influence of selected interventions in improving school connectedness and socialization. These studies provide evidence that school bonding is important for the healthy development of young people; strong school bonding was associated with less tobacco, alcohol, and drug use, as well as lower rates of criminal involvement, gang memberships, and dropping out of school. The positive effects of school bonding extended to high-risk groups in particular, including aggressive boys. The findings are consistent with prior research (Resnick et al., 1997; Werner, 1992) and suggest that focusing on how children are taught and teaching children social and emotional competence are critical to achieving academic success. Dr. Catalano is a professor of social work at the University of Washington, Seattle. His professional interests include promoting positive youth development and preventing problem behaviors.
Ceballo, R., McLoyd, V. C., & Toyokawa, T. (2004). The influence of neighborhood quality on adolescents’ educational values and school effort. Journal of Adolescent Research, 19, 716–739.
This study examined interview data from a sample of 262 low-income African-American single mothers and their 7th- and 8th-grade children and the relationship between neighborhood conditions and adolescents’ educational values and school effort. The study found that neighborhood characteristics can affect African-American adolescents’ educational values. Specifically, a concentration of more affluent neighbors was associated with a higher valuing of education among African-American adolescents. Adolescents residing in communities with more middle-class neighbors tend to view education as more important and more useful. The negative impact of impoverished neighborhood conditions on school-related outcomes found in this study is highly consistent with other studies in this area (Brooks-Gunn, Duncan, Klebanov, & Sealand, 1993; Crane, 1991; Datcher, 1982; Dornbusch, Ritter, & Steinberg, 1991; Duncan, 1994; Garner & Raudenbush, 1991). Dr. Ceballo is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. Her research investigates how contextual aspects of poverty influence children’s development and family functioning.
Crum, R. M., Storr, C. L., & Anthony, J. C. (2005). Are educational aspirations associated with the risk of alcohol use and alcohol use-related problems among adolescents? Substance Use and Misuse, 40, 151–169.
This longitudinal study examined the relation between students’ educational aspirations and alcohol use and use-related problems. Interview data were collected from 1,183 middle school students from 19 schools in an urban school district. Students were asked whether they had ever drunk alcohol and their age at first use. They were also asked about alcohol use-related problems, including whether they had been scolded for alcohol use, had gotten in trouble at school or home, or had health problems related to alcohol use. Students were also asked how far they thought they would progress in school. In initial interviews, 50 percent of the sample reported using alcohol; a year later, 59 percent reported alcohol use. Contrary to the researchers’ expectations, students with lower educational aspirations were not more likely to increase alcohol use or experience more alcohol-related problems in the year between interviews. The authors suggested that a year may not have been an adequate interval to study the relationship between educational aspirations and alcohol use. Dr. Crum is an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Davis, K. D., Winsler, A., & Middleton, M. (2006). Students’ perceptions of rewards for academic performance by parents and teachers: Relations with achievement and motivation in college. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 167, 211–220.
The authors of this study examine the effect of external rewards on students’ desire to learn and do well in school. The authors surveyed 136 college students to determine the types of external rewards their parents and teachers provided for academic performance from elementary school through high school. Results showed that although teacher rewards declined for both genders over the years, boys received significantly fewer rewards from parents as they aged whereas girls’ parental rewards remained stable. However, the authors found that boys responded more strongly to rewards from teachers than from parents, with those receiving many rewards from teachers performing better in college and reporting high academic goals for themselves. The authors hypothesize that boys may internalize the receipt of teacher rewards as an indication of their academic ability, thereby boosting their confidence and motivation. The authors therefore encourage teachers to provide positive reinforcements, particularly for male students. The first author is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. The author’s research interests include adolescent development, school readiness, and urban education.
Downey, D. B., & Vogt Yuan, A. S. (2005). Sex differences in school performance during high school: Puzzling patterns and possible explanations. Sociological Quarterly, 46, 299–321.
The authors investigated why boys and girls excel at different aspects of schooling by analyzing results of the National Education Longitudinal Studies of 1988, 1990, and 1992. Specifically, they considered sex differences, the influence of extracurricular activities, and teacher evaluations of boys and girls. With respect to grades, the authors found that teachers generally view boys as behaving more poorly in the classroom, which influences their grading of boys downward; the opposite is true for female students. With respect to free time, girls spend more time reading and taking art classes, which may contribute to their higher reading and verbal test scores. In contrast, boys spend more time working on computers for educational purposes and participating in math and science fairs, which likely accounts for some of their edge in math test scores. This article is intended for other social science researchers. Dr. Downey is a professor of sociology at the Ohio State University and Deputy Editor of the American Sociological Review. Her research focuses on the effects of family size and parents’ involvement in student development.
Duncan, G. J., Dowsett, C. J., Claessens, A., Magnuson, K. Huston, A. C., Klebanov, P., et al. (2007). School readiness and later achievement. Developmental Psychology, 43, 1428–1446.
This article sought to establish links between three key elements of school-entry readiness (i.e., academic, attention, and socioemotional skills) and later school reading and math achievement. Data were analyzed from six large longitudinal data sets. Across all six studies, the strongest predictors of later achievement were school-entry math skills, followed by reading and attention skills. By contrast, measures of socioemotional behaviors, including internalizing and externalizing problems and social skills, were generally insignificant predictors of later academic performance, even among children with relatively high levels of problem behavior. Finally, the authors found that patterns of association were similar for boys and girls and for children from high and low socioeconomic backgrounds. Modified authors’ abstract. Dr. Huston is a professor of child development at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests focus on understanding the effects of poverty on children and the impact of child care and income support policies on children’s development.
Feldman, S. S., & Wentzel, K. R. (1990). Relations among family interaction patterns, classroom self-restraint, and academic achievement in preadolescent boys. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 813–819.
This study investigated the relationship between parent-son interactions at home and the child’s behavior and academic achievement at school. Sixty-five predominantly White families living in San Francisco participated in the research. All family members participated in videotaped family interaction tasks in the home. Mothers, fathers, and sixth-grade sons also participated in separate interviews and completed surveys. Teachers provided information regarding the child’s classroom behavior and academic outcomes. Results showed that positive interactions between parents were related to higher academic achievement in their sons. Positive father-son interactions at home influenced the child’s positive behavior in class, which influenced academic achievement. Dr. Feldman is an associate director of the Human Biology program at Stanford University and director for the curriculum on Children and Society. Her research focuses on socialization of children and adolescents.
Feldman, S. S., Wentzel, K. R., Weinberger, D. A., & Munson, J. A. (1990). Marital satisfaction of parents of preadolescent boys and its relationship to family and child functioning. Journal of Family Psychology, 4, 213–234.
This study examined whether parents who have satisfying marriages have better child and family outcomes. The authors also looked at the emotional health of the parents and whether their child-rearing strategies influenced child and family outcomes. Fifty mothers and forty-three fathers with sixth-grade sons living in San Francisco participated in the study. Mothers and fathers and sixth-grade sons participated in separate interviews. Parents completed self-report measures of marital satisfaction, child-rearing practices, and emotional health. The child’s achievement was measured with standardized test scores. Results found that fathers who reported satisfying marriages had sons with less aggressive classroom behavior and more positive academic achievement. These findings suggest that a father’s marital satisfaction may be related to positive father-son interaction, which was linked to positive school outcomes in a study by Feldman and Wentzel (1990; see above). Dr. Feldman is an associate director of the Human Biology program at Stanford University and director for the curriculum on Children and Society. Her research focuses on socialization of children and adolescents.
Gennetian, L. A., Duncan, G., Knox, V., Vargas, W., Clark-Kaufman, E.,  & London, A. S. (2004). How welfare policies affect adolescents’ school outcomes: A synthesis of evidence from experimental studies. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 14, 399–423.
Using data from eight random-assignment studies and employing meta-analytic techniques, this article provides evidence that welfare-to-work policies targeted at low-income parents have small adverse effects on some school outcomes among adolescents ages 12 to 18 years at follow up. These adverse effects were observed mostly for school performance outcomes and occurred in programs that required mothers to work or participate in employment-related activities and those that encouraged mothers to work voluntarily. About 2 percent more of the employed mothers reported that their adolescents repeated a grade in school. Adolescent boys with employed mothers repeated grades less often than did adolescent girls. The most pronounced negative effects on school outcomes occurred for the group of adolescents who had a younger sibling, possibly because of the increased home and sibling care responsibilities they assumed as their mothers increased their employment. An increased percentage of these adolescents received special educational services, were suspended, or dropped out of school. All outcome measures are based on parents’ reports. Dr. Gennetian is a senior associate at Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks to enhance the effectiveness of social policies and programs through rigorous research.
Graham, S., & Perin, D. (2007). A meta-analysis of writing instruction for adolescent students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 445–476.
Prior research posits that adolescents no longer possess strong enough writing skills to succeed in school and in adulthood. As a result, the authors analyzed 123 studies to identify effective writing instruction strategies for students in 4th through 12th grades. Based on their findings, they make 10 recommendations for educators seeking to improve the writing skills of adolescents: (1) teach strategies for planning, revising, and editing; (2) teach strategies and procedures for summarizing reading material; (3) have students work together to plan, draft, revise, and edit compositions; (4) set clear and specific goals; (5) allow students to use word processing; (6) teach how to write increasingly complex sentences; (7) provide teachers with professional development; (8) assign writing to sharpen inquiry skills; (9) assign writing to help students gather and organize ideas before writing a draft; and (10) provide good models for each type of writing. Dr. Graham is a professor of special education and literacy in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. His primary research interests include learning disabilities, writing instruction and writing development, and the development of self-regulation.
Jeynes, W. H. (2005). A meta-analysis of the relation of parental involvement to urban elementary school student academic achievement. Urban Education, 40, 237–269.
This meta-analysis of 41 studies examines the relationship between parental involvement and the academic achievement of urban elementary school children. Results indicated that greater parental involvement, as defined by parental participation in the educational processes and experiences of their children, was related to the greater academic achievement of children, as measured by overall academic achievement, grade point average, and standardized tests. Although this relationship held for boys as well as for girls, overall, the parental involvement showed somewhat greater effect for boys than for girls as well as for White students. The author feels this finding is significant and believes that parental involvement may be one means of reducing the achievement gap that exists between White students and some racial minority groups. However, the author defines minority as “nonwhite,” and it is not clear whether specific minority groups were examined. In general, the author’s findings were consistent with previous studies (Fan & Chen, 2001) that indicate a strong relationship between parental involvement and academic outcomes. Dr. Jeynes received his doctorate from Harvard University and is a professor of education at California State University, Long Beach. He has written and spoken extensively on urban education and parental involvement. 
Jones, K. (2004). Assessing psychological separation and academic performance in nonresident-father and resident-father adolescent boys. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 21, 333–354.
This article examines the effect of fathers’ residency, psychological separation from the father, the quality of the father-son relationship, and the frequency of contact with the father on boys’ academic performance. Participants included 50 White middle-class boys, 14 to 17 years old. The study found that boys living in father-resident homes performed better academically than boys living apart from their fathers. However, the quality of the relationship between father and son was a much stronger predictor of academic performance than resident status; whether or not they resided with their fathers, boys performed better academically when they had frequent contact with their fathers and when their attitudes and beliefs were similar to those of their fathers. The author recommends that clinicians working with underperforming students should actively engage fathers in the treatment process and focus on issues of psychological connectedness. The author is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. His primary research interests include father-child relationships and the effects of father absence on child development.
Kenney-Benson, G. A., Pomerantz, E. M., Ryan, A. M., & Patrick, H. (2006). Sex differences in math performance: The role of children’s approach to schoolwork. Developmental Psychology, 42, 11–26.
Current research indicates that girls outperform boys in math grades but not in math test scores. To investigate these differences, this study used a sample of 518 students to assess the relationship between boys’ and girls’ approaches to math schoolwork (i.e., achievement goals, classroom behavior, learning strategies, and self-efficacy) and their math performance. Overall, the authors found that girls strive for mastery and refrain from disruptive classroom behavior. These strategies accounted for girls’ advantage over boys in terms of math grades and contributed to their adoption of positive learning strategies over time. However, self-efficacy (i.e., a person’s beliefs about his or her capabilities to produce effects) was the strongest predictor of performance on achievement tests. The authors suggest that girls may feel anxiety in test situations without the familiarity of their teacher and classroom, whereas boys may use their anxiety about testing to push them toward optimal performance. The authors conclude that the testing environment may underestimate girls’ abilities, whereas the classroom underestimates boys’ abilities. Dr. Kenney-Benson is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Allegheny College.
Ma, X. (2001). Stability of school academic performance across subject areas. Journal of Educational Measurement, 38, 1-18.
The study investigates the stability of academic achievement across subject areas (math, science, reading and writing) among students and among schools. Data were collected from 6,883 sixth-grade students and 148 schools to include both individual-level (academic performance) and school-level (disciplinary climate, academic press, and parental involvement) variables.  Overall, results show that students’ academic performance differed across subject areas.  That is, students did well in some subject areas but not equally well in other subject areas. However, results did show that schools were differentially effective in different subject areas. Findings indicate that individual teachers or departments are more effective or successful than others within the same school.  Finally, the differences in success were more evident among students than among schools. Findings suggest that to ensure students have equal opportunities to succeed academically, schools need to strive for consistency across different subject areas and/or departments. Dr. Ma is a Professor at the University of Kentucky. His research interests include mathematics education, school effectiveness, policy research, and advanced quantitative methods.
Mandara, J. (2006). The impact of family functioning on African American males' academic achievement: A review and clarification of the empirical literature. Teachers College Record, 108, 206–223.
This article reviews the current state of knowledge of family functioning and clarifies the available research on how parenting styles, physical discipline, racial socialization, and parents’ academic involvement relate to the academic achievement of African-American children, particularly males. The review found that African-American boys were more likely to be psychologically and behaviorally adjusted and succeed academically if they came from families in which parents (1) are “authoritative” (characterized as being supportive and nurturing while exerting a reasonable structure and discipline) (2) encourage racial and cultural pride and (3) are involved in schoolwork, limit nonproductive activities, and create a constant and positive dialogue with teachers and school officials. This article is intended for social science researchers, human service workers, and policy makers. Dr. Mandara is an assistant professor of human development and social policy at the Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy. His research examines the nature and effects of socialization and fathers’ involvement and how they interact with gender, race, and socioeconomic status to affect youths’ academic and social development.
Marsh, H. W. (1991). Employment during high school: Character building or a subversion of academic goals? Sociology of Education, 64, 172–189.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of part-time employment during high school. A review of the literature suggests different perspectives. Although some studies point to the negative effects, saying that working distracts students from school, others suggest benefits, claiming that working builds character and self-esteem. The author analyzed data that surveyed more than 10,000 students when they were high school sophomores and again when they were high school seniors. Results indicate that working during the sophomore year is not related to a higher dropout rate for those students. Furthermore, work done in the summer has no apparent effect on youth academically. Those students who work to save money for college reported the most positive influence from working, including attending college. Results of this study support those by Greenberger and Steinberg (1986). Dr. Marsh is a professor in the Department of Educational Studies at St. Cross College, Oxford University. His research interests include self-concept, motivation, and measuring teaching effectiveness.
Morgan, S. A. (2006). Introduction: Four classwide peer tutoring programs–Research, recommendations for implementation, and future directions. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 22, 1–4.
This article serves as a brief overview for an issue of Reading & Writing Quarterly. The issue focuses on four peer tutoring programs: (1) Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS), a reading program evaluated by researchers at Vanderbilt University; (2) START (Select a tutoring format, Train the tutors, Arrange the environment, Run the program, and Test for effectiveness), developed by researchers at Ohio State University; (3) Classwide Peer Tutoring-Learning Management System, which includes a computer technology component to assist classroom teachers and support offsite locations; and (4) Classwide Student Tutoring Teams, developed at the State University of New York, Fredonia. In this overview, the author discusses the importance of evidence-based reading programs as part of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and describes the role that peer tutoring programs can and do play in NCLB reforms. Dr. Morgan is an associate professor in the Special Education Program in the College of Education at The Ohio State University. Her primary research interests include the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of academic skills by elementary and high school students with mild to moderate disabilities.
Morisi, T. L. (2008). Youth enrollment and employment during the school year. Monthly Labor Review, 131, 51–63.
This study used data from the Current Population Survey to examine school enrollment and employment patterns during the 2006-2007 school year for adolescents ages 16 to19. During the 2006-2007 school year, 59 percent of adolescents were enrolled in school, but not employed. Of those who were enrolled in school and employed, 21 percent were boys and 26 percent were girls. In contrast, 8 percent of adolescents were neither enrolled in school nor employed during the 2006-2007 school year; this percentage has been relatively stable since the early 1990s. In terms of race/ethnicity, White adolescents were employed at greater rates than Black or Hispanic adolescents. The employment rate for students has decreased since 2000 and results of the present study suggest that the greater academic pressures (e.g., taking more courses, taking AP courses, academic requirements for community service) faced by adolescents may account for this decline. Interestingly, the data indicate that greater educational attainment is related to less unemployment and greater earnings. Dr. Morisi is an economist in the Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Noguera, P. A. (2003). The trouble with Black boys: The role and influence of environmental and cultural factors on the academic performance of African American males. Urban Education, 38, 431–459.
This review paper begins with an analysis of the factors that place certain individuals, specifically African-American males, at greater risk than others for academic failure. Drawing on research from a variety of disciplines, the author explores the ways in which environmental and cultural factors shape the relationship between identity, particularly related to race and gender, and academic performance. The author finds that research on effective schools has shown that when optimal conditions for teaching and learning are provided, high levels of academic success for students, including African-American males, can be achieved. Dr. Noguera is a professor in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. He has written extensively on topics such as urban school reform, conditions that promote student achievement, and race and ethnic relations in American society.
Nunn, G. D., & Miller, M. (2000). At-risk adolescents’ perceptions of learning temperaments: Implications for educational intervention. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 27, 266–272.
This article examined the learning temperaments and needs differences between at-risk students receiving psychosocial and academic interventions and an average-performing comparison group. The author surveyed 701 10th- through 12th-grade students: 293 males and 408 females. Students were mostly middle to lower middle class and largely White. Outcome variables were measured using the Nunn Assessment of Learning Temperament. Findings show that at-risk students perceive themselves as less competent than other students. At-risk students also preferred less formally structured learning experiences, responding positively to more abstract (e.g., Socratic method, guided discovery) and informal (e.g., music and movement) methods. Boys in particular preferred learning experiences that involved physical/kinesthetic movement, such as constructing, touching, and moving around the classroom. Dr. Nunn is a professor and program director of the School Psychology program at Idaho State University and has developed several nationally recognized programs in the areas of counseling, mental health, and interventions in schools.
Pruett, M. K., Davidson, L., McMahon, T. J., Ward, N. L., & Griffith, E. E. H. (2000). Comprehensive services for at-risk urban youth: Applying lessons from the community mental health movement. Children’s Services: Social Policy, Research, and Practice, 3, 63–83.
This article first reviews the current status of at-risk inner-city youth. Next, it describes lessons learned from the community mental health movement related to the process of creating integrated, community-based systems of care. Lessons learned include the need for wraparound, community-based services for at-risk populations; the creation of mechanisms for establishing and managing public sector service systems that combine local, State, and Federal funds; and the roles of empowerment and the integration of services with community resources in working with a disenfranchised and underserved population. Finally, the authors describe their own work in implementing a comprehensive model of service delivery for youth at risk. Their model integrates prevention, treatment, and advocacy for youth and their families and helps build bridges between schools and their communities to provide a community support services program that addresses the interrelated problems of school dropout and youth violence. Dr. Pruett is a noted speaker, clinician, and scholar. She is a professor at the Smith College School for Social Work.
Robinson, D. R., Schofield, J. W., & Steers-Wentzell, K. L. (2005). Peer and cross-age tutoring in math: Outcomes and their design implications. Educational Psychology Review, 17, 327–362.
The article summarizes findings from 28 studies that looked at the effect of peer and cross-age tutoring in mathematics for African-American, other minority, and Caucasian students. The authors review research that reveals positive academic, attitudinal, and socioemotional outcomes for tutors and tutees in tutoring programs that ranged in duration from 2 weeks to several years. Positive outcomes included students’ improved attitude towards school and a sense of academic efficacy and their enhanced self-concepts. Longer tutoring programs may not foster greater, immediate gains, and same-sex pairs may benefit more from peer tutoring programs than mixed-sex pairs. The authors discuss implications of findings for the development of peer and cross-age tutoring programs, including the importance of finding ways to emphasize the fact that tutors and tutees are assuming new roles in the classroom because this may be linked to more positive outcomes for tutor and tutee. The authors are researchers at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh.
Rothstein, D. S. (2007). High school employment and youths’ academic achievement. Journal of Human Resources, 42, 194–213.
This study investigates whether employment during high school affects students’ grade point average. It was hypothesized that grade point average is an indicator of longer term academic achievement outcomes, such as whether one graduates from high school and enrolls in a 2- or 4-year college. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 on almost 9,000 students ages 12 to 17, the author finds that more than a third of youth work at some point during 10th grade, about 60 percent work during 11th grade, and more than two-thirds work during 12th grade. Consistent with prior research (Turner, 1994; Tyler, 2003), the author’s findings are that high school employment has small, negative effects on academic grade point average for both males and females. Dr. Rothstein is a research economist at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Scales, P. C., Roehlkepartain, E. C., Neal, M., Kielsmeir, J. C., & Benson, P. L. (2006). Reducing academic achievement gaps: The role of community service and service learning. Journal of Experiential Education, 29, 38–60.
The authors identify several factors—such as socioeconomic status (SES), community service and service learning, and academic achievement—that have been linked to a range of indicators of adolescent well-being. In this study, the authors used diverse data from 217,000 middle and high school students to examine the relationships among SES, community service and service learning, and academic success. First, principals were asked to describe their perception of the effect of service learning on academics and other social outcomes. Next, students were asked to provide information about their service to others, duration of service learning, grades, and demographics. Results show that principals of urban schools, high-poverty schools, and schools with mostly minority students were more likely to say that service learning has a positive impact on academics. Findings suggest that community service and service learning appear to be related to a smaller gap in academic outcomes between low- and high-SES students. Dr. Scales, a senior fellow at the Search Institute, is a developmental psychologist whose research interests include adolescent development, family life, effective schools, and healthy communities.
Skinner, C. H., Neddenriep, C. E., Robinson, S. L., Ervin, R., & Jones, K. (2002). Altering educational environments through positive peer reporting: Prevention and remediation of social problems associated with behavior disorders. Psychology in the Schools, 39, 191–202.
In this article, the authors describe and analyze disciplinary systems designed to prevent inappropriate or antisocial behavior among students in the classroom. Often, teachers rely on students to monitor and report their peers’ antisocial behavior; however, the authors find that this type of classroom management strategy may adversely affect the social development and social relations of students with behavior and/or social and emotional disorders. Students with behavior disorders may be more likely to be rejected by peers and, therefore, may receive fewer opportunities to develop and master their social skills. The authors review and analyze two alternative strategies by which students are encouraged to monitor and report appropriate prosocial behaviors among their classmates. The authors find that these strategies increase both positive peer interaction and students’ initiation of social interactions while decreasing negative peer interaction rates of socially rejected children. Dr. Skinner is a professor of school psychology at the University of Tennessee. His research focuses on developing behavioral theory and applying procedures in educational settings to prevent and remedy students' social, emotional, and academic problems.
Staff, J., & Mortimer, J. T. (2007). Educational and work strategies from adolescence to early adulthood: Consequences for educational attainment. Social Forces, 85, 1169–1194.
Using longitudinal data from the Youth Development Study, the authors investigated the relationship between the number of hours adolescents worked and their educational aspirations. More than 1,000 ninth graders located in an economically representative greater metropolitan area were surveyed. The teens were surveyed annually from 9th through 12th grades, supplying information regarding their work experiences, educational plans for the future, and school achievement. Results show that more financially advantaged youth who reported high levels of educational promise (higher grades) struck a better balance between work and school hours compared with students who were less economically advantaged and had lower educational promise, who worked more intensely and sporadically. However, researchers suggested that students who were able to balance part-time work and school were more likely to succeed in higher education, regardless of their initial level of educational promise. Dr. Staff is an assistant professor of Crime, Law, and Justice and Sociology at Penn State University. His research interests include criminology and life course studies.
Stewart, E. B. (2007). Individual and school structural effects on African American high school students’ academic achievement. High School Journal, 91, 16–34.
This study examined the effects of individual- and family-level factors and school characteristics on students’ academic achievement. Data were drawn from the National Educational Longitudinal Study to produce a sample of 1,238 African-American 10th-grade students. The results suggest that individual-level predictors, such as student effort, parent-child discussion, and associations with positive peers, play a substantial role in increasing students' achievement. Furthermore, the results also suggest that school climate, in particular the sense of school cohesion felt by students, teachers, and administrators, is important to successful student outcomes, such as higher grades. Dr. Stewart is a research faculty member at the Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research at Florida State University. Her research interests focus on understanding how teachers can effectively integrate technology into their classes and on the education of African-American students.
Vitaro, F., LaRocque, D., Janosz, M., & Tremblay, R. E. (2001). Negative social experiences and dropping out of school. Educational Psychology, 21, 401–415.
This study explores whether disruptiveness and poor academic performance are key triggers that lead boys to drop out of school. Using a sample of 751 low-income boys, the authors also examined social and familial factors as potential buffers of early school withdrawal. Results confirmed that early disruptiveness and poor academic performance predict dropout, but the influence of these variables varied according to dropout age. Low social acceptance from classmates did not affect early school disengagement. However, having deviant/dropout friends played a significant role in whether a boy dropped out of school. Family factors did not serve as a buffer on this influence. The authors discuss the social and psychological processes that lead early disruptive boys to drop out of school, and they highlight the importance of targeting early disruptiveness and academic difficulties to prevent school dropout. Modified author abstract. Dr. Vitaro is affiliated with the Research Unit on Children’s Psychosocial Maladjustment at the University of Montréal.
Warren, J. R., & Cataldi, E. F. (2006). A historical perspective on high school students’ paid employment and its association with high school dropout. Sociological Forum, 21, 113–143.
This article documents historical trends in the paid employment of African American and White high school students. Using data from 1968 to 2000, the authors examine the relationship between African-American and Caucasian high school matriculation and employment and how this connection has changed over time. Results indicate that employment rates have stayed relatively constant among African-American and Caucasian youth. Furthermore, although data indicate that a sophomore working more than 20 hours per week does have an increased chance of dropping out, the same is true for students kept back for 1-year in high school. Popular culture often believes that more teenagers are working today than ever before, but today’s employment rates for boys are similar to those of 1980. Dr. Warren is an associate professor of sociology at University of Minnesota, and his areas of research are social stratification and the sociology of education. 
Whitlock, J. L. (2006). Youth perceptions of life at school: Contextual correlates of school connectedness in adolescence. Applied Developmental Science, 10, 13–29.
This study used quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the relationship between school connectedness and perceived developmental supports in a sample of suburban high school students in the northeastern United States. The study included 305 predominantly White 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. Overall, findings from this study suggest that factors contributing to school connectedness include the perception that students feel cared for by teachers and staff, that they are included in school decision making (e.g., have input in school policies), and that they are taught relevant material in an engaging manner. Interestingly, seniors expressed feeling less supported and less academically connected than did the 8th and 10th graders, although positive parental relationships mediated this difference. The author’s work is intended for education policymakers, educators, and other researchers in this field. The author is a professor at Cornell University and is the Director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behaviors. Her research focuses on adolescent health, adolescent development and identity formation, and self-injurious behavior in adolescents and young adults.
Williams, J. H., Davis, L. E., Johnson, S. D., Williams, T. R., Saunders, J. A., & Nebbitt, V. E. (2007). Substance use and academic performance among African American high school students. Social Work Research, 31, 151–161.
In this study, the authors examined to what extent substance use, family, individual, and financial concerns were associated with academic performance among a sample of 212 African American students attending an urban high school located in the midwestern United States. The student body was 99 percent African-American, with approximately equal numbers of boys and girls. The results indicated that marijuana use, parental substance use, and family financial concerns were associated with students’ academic intentions. Grade point average was associated with both marijuana use and parental substance use. These results highlight the importance of taking into account parental substance use when examining the link between substance abuse and academic performance among African-American students. Dr. Williams is dean of the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. His primary areas of research include mental health, delinquency, youth violence, and social issues of the African-American community.

Education — Interventions/Programs

Battistich, V., Schaps, E., Watson, M., Solomon, D., & Lewis, C. (2000). Effects of the Child Development Project on students’ drug use and other problem behaviors. Journal of Primary Prevention, 21, 75–99.
This study examines the effectiveness of the Child Development Project (CDP) on students’ drug use and other problem behaviors. CDP is a school-based prevention program developed to promote children’s resilience to risk and to foster positive social, emotional, and intellectual development. Study participants were 5,500 students and 550 teachers at 24 rural, urban, and suburban elementary schools. The schools had diverse student populations; approximately half the students were male. Following baseline assessments, the program was introduced over a period of 3 years. Similar schools in the same districts served as comparison groups. Evaluation findings indicated that when the program was implemented widely throughout a school, there were significant reductions in students’ use of drugs. Students in the CDP schools were also significantly less likely to run away from home or be involved in a gang. Dr. Battistich is an associate professor in the Division of Educational Psychology, Research and Evaluation at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Corn, K. L., & Moore, D. D. (1992). Reach for the S.T.A.R.S.–Students Teaching and Reaching Students: A two-faceted peer facilitating program at Greenfield-Central High School. School Counselor, 40, 68–72.
In this article, the authors describe the design, implementation, and operation of peer tutoring and peer support groups at a high school after the emotional impact of a student’s suicide. Although the high school administrators felt that they had always facilitated a supportive environment, this suicide caused them to research new ways that they could further help their students cope. The groups were intended to bring together people with mutual problems and concerns and reach more students than individual counseling could. Peer tutors and facilitators were selected based on teacher recommendations. Peer tutoring was popular, with 85 percent of the requests being for math assistance. Of those tutored, 43 percent saw their grades rise. Categories for the personal development groups were selected by students and teachers and included death, divorce, self-esteem, family relationships, and pregnancy. After participating, students showed better decision-making skills, increased self-esteem, and improved relations with others. The authors suggest that this article could help other high school administrators and teachers develop student-led mentoring and tutoring programs and recommend these groups as a way to help more students with a school’s limited resources. The authors were both affiliated with Greenfield-Central High School at the time this article was written.
Durlak, J. A., Taylor, R. D., Kawashima, K., Pachan, M. K., DuPre, E. P., Celio, C. I., et al. (2007). Effects of positive youth development programs on school, family, and community systems. American Journal of Community Psychology, 39, 269-286.
This study provides the review of 526 youth development programs (YDP) that were geared towards social system change. They found that 64 percent of the interventions attempted some type of system-wide change involving schools, families, or community-based organizations. The interventions’ goals were to foster personal and social skills in children and adolescents. Results of the review indicate that attempts to change social systems affecting children and adolescents can be successful. Results also show that successful school-based youth development programs attempted to change aspects of the school’s social climate. Findings suggest components of YDPs may be used to enhance the family environment and/or modify parenting practices and connect young people to prosocial adult role models through mentoring relationships, and after school programs. Dr. Durlak is a professor of psychology at Loyola University in Chicago. His primary research interests are in prevention and promotion programs for children and adolescents.
Freiberg, H. J., Connell, M. L., & Lorentz, J. (2001). Effects of Consistency Management on student mathematics achievement in seven Chapter I elementary schools. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 6, 249-270.
In this study, the authors measured the effectiveness of the Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline (CMCD) program. The CMCD program is based on five themes: prevention, caring, cooperation, organization, and community. The study took place in 7 urban elementary schools with a 95 percent Latino population over the course of 1 school year. About 200 students in 3 schools who received the CMCD intervention were compared with 300 students in 4 schools not receiving the intervention. Researchers used the mathematics subtest of the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills to measure math achievement. Students in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades in the intervention group showed higher achievement gains than students from the schools without the CMCD program. Researchers also noted that schools with the CMCD intervention showed improved teacher and student attendance rates, and students in these classes exhibited lower levels of disruptive behavior. Dr. Freiberg is a professor in the College of Education and Director of the CMCD project at the University of Houston in Texas.
Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., Kosterman, R., Abbott, R. & Hill, K. G. (1999). Preventing adolescent health-risk behaviors by strengthening protection during childhood. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 153, 226-234.
This study examined the long term effects of a universal intervention program on elementary school students from a high crime urban area. The researchers created an intervention with 3 conditions. One hundred forty-nine students received the full intervention (e.g., teacher training, child social and emotional skill development, and parent training) from 1st through 6th grade, 243 students received the intervention in 5th and 6th grade only, and the 206 students in the control group received no intervention. Self-report, school, and court records which examined measures of sexual activity, school performance, and delinquency were collected when students were in 5th grade and again at age 17. Results indicate that when compared to the control group, students in the full intervention group were significantly less likely to be sexually active, less likely to have fathered a child, and have significantly higher levels of school achievement. It is important to note that students in the late intervention group did not differ significantly from those in the control group. These results suggest the potential positive effect of early prevention and intervention programs. Dr. Hawkins is the Endowed Professor of Prevention and Founding Director of the Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work at the University of Washington in Seattle. His research focuses on understanding and preventing child and adolescent health and behavior problems.
Lochman, J. E., & Wells, K. C. (2004). The Coping Power Program for preadolescent aggressive boys and their parents: Outcome effects at the 1-year follow-up. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 571–578.
This study evaluates the effectiveness of the Coping Power Program, a preventive intervention for aggressive children. The intervention addresses deficits in social competence, self-regulation, school bonding, and positive parental involvement. The study included 1,578 fourth- and fifth-grade boys and their families, randomly assigned to the intervention or control group. One year following the intervention, the evaluation found that the Coping Power Program produced lower rates of “covert” delinquent behavior among boys than among boys in the group that did not receive the program. The evaluation also found improvements in teacher-rated behavior in school among boys participating in the program. This article is intended for social science researchers and program providers who may be interested in implementing the Coping Power Program. Dr. Lochman is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alabama. His research interests include prevention and treatment of aggressive and antisocial behavior in children and adolescents and contextual and parenting risk factors for children’s aggressive behavior.
McMaster, K. L., Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. (2006). Research on Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies: The promise and limitations of peer-mediated instruction. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 22, 5–25.
This article summarizes the features and activities of the Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) program and describes procedures for implementing the program for kindergarten through high school students. Sample PALS lesson sheets are included. The authors summarize findings for PALS in large-scale experimental research in 33 classrooms where two groups of students were involved in the peer-assisted learning strategies and compared with a group of students who were not involved. Students in the PALS groups had better reading scores than the comparison group of students. The authors conclude that PALS is effective as a supplement to conventional teaching methods to promote reading skills. Dr. McMaster is a professor at the University of Minnesota whose research focuses on the development of instructional practices for academically diverse learners, including students at risk and students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Drs. Douglas and Lynn Fuchs, along with colleagues, developed the PALS program to strengthen reading competencies. The U.S. Department of Education’s Program Effectiveness Panel approved the PALS reading program for inclusion in the National Diffusion Network on effective educational practices.
Terrion, J. L. (2006). Building social capital in vulnerable families: Success markers of a school-based intervention program. Youth & Society, 38, 155–176.
The objective of this qualitative study was to determine markers of success for participants and stakeholders in the Families and Schools Together (FAST) program. FAST is a school-based program with the goals of improving family functioning and preventing school failure. Semi-structured interview data were collected from six FAST parent participants and six FAST stakeholders (e.g., social worker, teacher, school principal). Results revealed six markers of success for FAST participants: (1) increased participation in, and connectedness to, the community by parents; (2) increased time spent and quality of communication between parents and children; (3) improved relations between parents and schools; (4) enhanced personal development of parents and children (e.g., sense of empowerment, confidence); (5) improved relationships or development of new relationships by children; and (6) decreased amount of undesirable behavior by children. The author suggests that these success markers indicate the development of social capital (i.e., social resources on which an individual can draw) among FAST participants. Dr. Terrion is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa. Her research interests include mentoring relationships and their effect on mentors and mentees.
Theodore, L. A., Bray, M. A., & Kehle, T. J. (2004). A comparative study of group contingencies and randomized reinforcers to reduce disruptive classroom behavior. School Psychology Quarterly, 19, 253–271.
This research compares the effectiveness of three different strategies to reduce disruptive classroom behavior. Three 17-year-old males with serious emotional disturbance and oppositional defiance disorder participated in the study, which took place in a classroom setting. An alternating treatment design was used to determine the different treatment effects for independent, interdependent, and dependent group strategies. The frequency of disruptive behavior (e.g., voicing obscene words, not following directions, talking to students who were working, verbal putdowns) was measured using direct observation. Results suggest that for the three adolescents, dependent group strategy was slightly more effective than the independent or interdependent group strategies. A possible reason for the effectiveness of the dependent strategy was that each participant was aware that his behavior could affect his peers’ earning rewards. The authors suggest that group strategies not be used if there is a possibility of retaliation against the target students. The authors propose that these findings are useful for school psychologists who are considering ways to manage disruptive classroom behavior. Dr. Theodore is an assistant professor of psychology at Hofstra University.
Wassef, A., Mason, G., Collins, M. L., O’Boyle, M., & Ingham, D. (1996). In search of effective programs to address students’ emotional distress and behavioral problems–Part III: Student assessment of school-based support groups. Adolescence, 31, 1–16.
In this article, the authors present findings from students’ assessment of a school-based support group for emotional and behavioral problems. Students ages 14 to 19, who were experiencing emotional distress or behavioral problems, volunteered to participate in the groups. Students met in classroom settings for 50 minutes each week during the school year. Discussion sessions were facilitated by two adult volunteers who were not mental health workers but who had completed training on group facilitation. Students talked about school- and home-related issues and ways to cope with stressful situations. At the end of the 3-year implementation period, data were collected from 131 participants, assessing the effects of the discussion groups on their schoolwork, relationships with others, and how they felt about themselves. Students reported developing new ways to deal with problems, increased self-esteem, and an increased ability to support friends. The authors suggest these findings can be used by educators to implement programs for school-based, peer support groups. Dr. Wassef is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
Wright, J., & Cleary, K. S. (2006). Kids in the tutor seat: Building schools’ capacity to help struggling readers through a cross-age peer-tutoring program. Psychology in the Schools, 43, 99–107.
This article describes the evaluation of a cross-age peer tutoring intervention program designed to improve the reading speed rate of delayed readers. Four elementary schools in a single urban district were selected for the study. Across the 4 schools, 27 tutor/tutee pairs were selected from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades. Students being tutored in the study increased their reading speed at an average rate of one additional word per weekly tutoring session. The authors note that children being tutored in the study built their fluency at a rate that matched or approached that of typical readers at their grade level. The tutors’ reading speed rates also increased over the 20-week intervention period. The findings of this research are supported by the results of a large-scale study on peer-assisted learning strategies reported by McMaster and colleagues (McMaster, Fuchs, & Fuchs, 2006; see above). Dr. Wright is a school administrator with the Baldwinsville (New York) Central School District.

[ Go to Contents ]

Employment

Apel, R., Paternoster, R., Bushway, S. D., & Brame, R. (2006). A job isn’t just a job: The differential impact of formal versus informal work on adolescent problem behavior. Crime & Delinquency, 52, 333–369.
In this article, the authors address the relationship between adolescent involvement in work and delinquency. Through the analyses of data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, the authors found that adolescents who work intensively in formal jobs are more delinquent and abuse substances more often than those who do not. Those adolescents who engaged in informal employment (i.e., babysitting, lawn work) were more likely to abuse substances but less likely to be involved in delinquency. However, the authors also found that youth at high risk for delinquency and substance use, particularly boys, are more likely to seek formal employment. These findings are consistent with those of other studies (Bushway & Reuter, 2002; Uggen, 2000). Dr. Apel is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina. His research interests include patterns of victimization and the relationship between employment and deviance during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood.
Carter, E. W., & Lunsford, L. B. (2005). Meaningful work: Improving employment outcomes for transition-age youth with emotional and behavioral disorders. Preventing School Failure, 49, 63–69.
This article is a literature review that seeks to identify the components of secondary educational programming that may contribute to improved employment outcomes for adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). The authors recommend that comprehensive and effective transitional programming for young adults with EBD address four key skill areas–social, vocational, academic, and self-determination–and four key support areas–community linkages, workplace supports, family involvement, and student involvement. This article is intended for practitioners providing secondary transition services to adolescents with EBD. Dr. Carter is an assistant professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The author’s research interests include adolescents with disabilities, students with behavioral problems, and secondary transition from school to adult life.
Gardecki, R. M. (2001). Racial differences in youth employment. Monthly Labor Review, 124, 51–67.
This study uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1997 (NLSY 97) to examine factors that affect youth employment and whether there are differences based on race/ethnicity. Results of this study show that job holding among teens has increased over the past several decades, with about 60 percent of youth employed at the time of this survey. More non-Black, non-Hispanic adolescents (71 percent) held jobs than either Black or Hispanic adolescents (52 percent each). Regardless of racial group, the authors found that job holding during adolescence increases the probability of later employment. In terms of factors that affect the probability of adolescent employment, being Black or Hispanic decreases the probability of employment, while being female increases the probability of employment. Completion of more years of formal education increases the probability of employment, as does a belief that the majority of one’s peers plan to attend college. Parental employment has a positive impact on youth employment while living in areas with high poverty or unemployment rates decreases the probability of employment. At the time of publication, Dr. Gardecki was a senior research associate at the Center for Human Resource Research at The Ohio State University.
Johnson, M. K. (2004). Further evidence on adolescent employment and substance use: Differences by race and ethnicity. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 45, 187–197.
Previous research studies have found that adolescents who spend more time in paid work report higher levels of substance abuse; this article examines whether this is also evident across racial and ethnic groups. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the study found that the effect of work intensity on substance use was mostly limited to White adolescents. This study does not empirically address the reasons for the difference across racial and ethnic groups. However, the author suggests that minority adolescents living in economically depressed areas with fewer employers and high unemployment rates are less likely to be employed, so minority teens who are able to find employment may have characteristics that distinguish them from their peers. In addition, adolescents who are working to save money for schooling or to contribute to their families may be less likely to engage in substance use than their peers who are using their earnings primarily for leisure. The author cautions policymakers that laws restricting the number of hours per week teens can work could have unintended adverse consequences for some minority groups. Dr. Johnson is assistant professor of sociology at Washington State University. Her research focuses on education and work-related processes during adolescence and the transition to adulthood.
Marsh, H. W. (1991). Employment during high school: Character building or a subversion of academic goals? Sociology of Education, 64, 172–189.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of part-time employment during high school. A review of the literature suggests different perspectives. Whereas some researchers point to the negative effects, saying that working distracts students from school, others suggest benefits, claiming that working builds character and self-esteem. The author analyzed data that surveyed more than 10,000 students when they were high school sophomores and again when they were high school seniors. Results indicate that working during the sophomore year is not related to a higher dropout rate for those students. Furthermore, work done in the summer has no apparent effect on youth academically. Students who work to save money for college reported the most positive influence from working, including attending college. Results of this study support those by Greenberger and Steinberg (1986). Dr. Marsh is a professor in the Department of Educational Studies at St. Cross College, Oxford University. His research interests include self-concept, motivation, and measuring teaching effectiveness.
Morisi, T. L. (2008). Youth enrollment and employment during the school year. Monthly Labor Review, 131, 51–63.
This study used data from the Current Population Survey to examine school enrollment and employment patterns during the 2006-2007 school year for adolescents ages 16 to19. During the 2006-2007 school year, 59 percent of adolescents were enrolled in school, but not employed. Of those who were enrolled in school and employed, 21 percent were boys and 26 percent were girls. In contrast, 8 percent of adolescents were neither enrolled in school nor employed during the 2006-2007 school year; this percentage has been relatively stable since the early 1990s. In terms of race/ethnicity, White adolescents were employed at greater rates than Black or Hispanic adolescents. The employment rate for students has decreased since 2000 and results of the present study suggest that the greater academic pressures (e.g., taking more courses, taking AP courses, academic requirements for community service) faced by adolescents may account for this decline. Interestingly, the data indicate that greater educational attainment is related to less unemployment and greater earnings. Dr. Morisi is an economist in the Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Paternoster, R., Bushway, S., Brame, R., & Apel, R. (2003). The effect of teenage employment on delinquency and problem behaviors. Social Forces, 82, 297–335.
The authors of this longitudinal study set out to determine whether working increases the likelihood of teen delinquent behavior. Data were drawn from the 1997 and 1999 National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth. Respondents were 12 to 16 years old. Contrary to expectations, results showed no significant association between adolescent work and antisocial behavior. This finding is also contrary to much of the previous research in this area (Bachman & Schulenberg, 1993; Wright, Cullen, & Williams, 1997). The authors suggest that delinquent behavior may be the result of pre-employment differences between youth rather than the effects of working. Dr. Paternoster is a professor of criminology and criminal justice at University of Maryland and a researcher at the Maryland Population Research Center.
Pickering, L. E., & Vazsonyi, A. T. (2002). The impact of adolescent employment on family relationships. Journal of Adolescent Research, 17, 196–218.
This article examines the effect of adolescent employment on family relationships, specifically looking at emotional closeness, parental monitoring, conflict, communication, and time spent together. Data were collected from three categories of adolescents: nonworkers, low-intensity workers (less than 20 hours per week), and high-intensity workers (20 or more hours per week). The study found that low-intensity adolescent workers reported the highest level of family functioning, high-intensity workers reported the lowest levels, and nonworkers were in between. The authors also found that relationships between work intensity and family process were highly similar between males and females and between younger and older adolescents. This article is intended for other social science researchers. Dr. Pickering is an assistant professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi. His research interests include protective factors against adolescent deviant behavior, family and parenting processes, and adolescent adjustment and well-being.
Porterfield, S. L., & Winkler, A. E. (2007). Teen time use and parental education: Evidence from the CPS, MTF, and ATUS. Monthly Labor Review, 130, 37–56.
This study used data from the Current Population Survey to examine trends in teen employment during the 1995-1996, 1999-2000, and 2003-2004 school years for adolescents between the ages of 16 and 19. In addition, data from the 1975-1976 and 2003-2004 Monitoring the Future survey and the 2003 and 2004 American Time Use Survey were used to look at trends in teen time use. Results show that the teen employment rate fell in the years under study. More specifically, the employment rate for boys dropped from 33 percent in the 1995–1996 school year to 25 percent in the 2003–2004 school year. The most commonly reported ways in which teens spend their time were watching television, social activities, and sports or exercise. Over the past several decades, the percentage of students engaged in community or volunteer service has increased. Adolescents from families with more highly educated parents spend more time on homework, extracurricular activities, hobbies, reading, and writing. Dr. Porterfield is an associate professor of social work in the School of Social Work at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.
Ringel, J. S., Ellickson, P. L., & Collins, R. L. (2007). High school drug use predicts job-related outcomes at age 29. Addictive Behaviors, 32, 576–589.
This article examines the relationship of high school drug use and subsequent job-related outcomes. The authors used data from a longitudinal study of students who participated in Project ALERT, a school-based drug prevention program. Overall, the results suggest that adolescent hard drug use is linked with poorer occupational and job quality outcomes as much as 10 years after high school. The results differed by gender; females who use hard drugs as adolescents tend to end up in lower skill, lower status jobs, whereas males are more likely to end up in jobs with fewer benefits (e.g., health insurance, retirement benefits, and paid vacation). The authors suggest that hard drug use may have an effect on an individual’s access to high-quality jobs because of limited educational attainment and/or job performance. In addition, they suggest that early drug use may continue into early adulthood, affecting current job performance, job access, and job quality. This article is intended for social science researchers. Dr. Ringel is an economist with the RAND Corporation. Her primary research interests include adolescent drug use, the economic costs of substance abuse, and drug prevention.
Roche, K. M., Ensminger, M. E., Chilcoat, H., & Storr, C. (2003). Establishing independence in low-income urban areas: The relationship to adolescent aggressive behavior. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65, 668–680.
The authors assert that adolescents in low-income, urban areas often assume independent, adult-like roles but that relatively little is known about the relationship between these roles and other adolescent behaviors. This study, therefore, examined the association between independent roles occurring within different contexts (e.g., family, peer, work) and aggressive behavior among 516 low-income, urban middle school students. Overall, adolescents were found to be less aggressive when establishing independence within familiar contexts and more aggressive outside familiar settings. Adolescent employment was associated with increased aggression. However, unemployed adolescents tended to be more aggressive when dating and attending parties than employed adolescents. Higher levels of parental monitoring and lower levels of deviant peer affiliation and neighborhood aggression were related to decreases in youth aggressive behavior during middle school, which is consistent with previous research findings (Herrenkohl et al., 2000; Loeber & Stouthamer-Loeber, 1986). The authors stress the complexity of teenagers’ lives today and note that aggressive behavior can be influenced by any number of variables. Dr. Roche is an assistant professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Her research focuses on the influence of families and neighborhoods on adolescent health and well-being.
Rothstein, D. S. (2007). High school employment and youths' academic achievement. Journal of Human Resources, 42, 194–213.
This study investigates whether employment during high school affects students’ grade point average. It was hypothesized that grade point average is an indicator of longer term academic achievement outcomes, such as whether one graduates from high school and enrolls in a 2- or 4-year college. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 on almost 9,000 students ages 12 to 17, the author finds that more than a third of youth work at some point during 10th grade, about 60 percent work during 11th grade, and more than 66 percent work during twelfth grade. Consistent with prior research (Turner, 1994; Tyler, 2003), the author’s findings are that high school employment has small, negative effects on academic grade point average for both males and females. Dr. Rothstein is a research economist at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Staff, J., & Mortimer, J. T. (2007). Educational and work strategies from adolescence to early adulthood: Consequences for educational attainment. Social Forces, 85, 1169–1194.
Using longitudinal data from the Youth Development Study, the authors investigated the relationship between the number of hours adolescents worked and their educational aspirations. More than 1,000 ninth graders located in an economically representative greater metropolitan area were surveyed. The teens were surveyed annually from 9th through 12th grades, supplying information regarding their work experiences, educational plans for the future, and school achievement. Results show that more financially advantaged youth who reported high levels of educational promise (higher grades) struck a better balance between work and school hours compared with students who were less economically advantaged and had lower educational promise, who worked more intensely and sporadically. However, researchers suggested that students who were able to balance part-time work and school were more likely to succeed in higher education, regardless of their initial level of educational promise. Dr. Staff is an assistant professor of Crime, Law, and Justice and Sociology at Penn State University. His research interests include criminology and life course studies. 
Staff, J., & Uggen, C. (2003). The fruits of good work: Early work experiences and adolescent deviance. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 40, 263–290.
In this article, the authors characterize the ideal job held during the high school years and examine the potential link between early work experiences and adolescent deviant behavior (disruption in school, alcohol use, and arrest). The researchers used data from the Youth Development Study, a longitudinal study of more than 1,000 students who were assessed over several years beginning in ninth grade. Researchers examined different job characteristics and their potential link to adolescent outcomes. Through extensive statistical analyses, the results demonstrated that to reduce delinquency, adolescents’ jobs must support academic achievement and offer genuine opportunities to learn something useful. Researchers also noted that jobs in which students worked alone and were paid high wages were associated with increased delinquent behavior. Dr. Staff is an assistant professor of Crime, Law, and Justice and Sociology at Penn State University. His research interests include criminology and life course studies.
Warren, J. R., & Cataldi, E. F. (2006). A historical perspective on high school students’ paid employment and its association with high school dropout. Sociological Forum, 21, 113–143.
This article documents historical trends in the paid employment of African-American and Caucasian high school students. Using data from 1968 to 2000, the authors examine the relationship between African-American and Caucasian high school matriculation and employment and how this connection has changed over time. Results indicate that employment rates have stayed relatively constant among African-American and Caucasian youth. Furthermore, although data indicate that a sophomore working more than 20 hours per week does have an increased chance of dropping out, the same is true for students kept back for 1 year in high school. Popular culture often believes that more teenagers are working today than ever before, but today’s employment rates for boys are similar to those of 1980. This article is intended for other scientific researchers concerned about the association between adolescent employment and high school dropout rates. Dr. Warren is an associate professor of sociology at University of Minnesota, and his areas of research are social stratification and the sociology of education. 

[ Go to Contents ]

Juvenile Delinquency

Apel, R., Paternoster, R., Bushway, S. D., & Brame, R. (2006). A job isn’t just a job: The differential impact of formal versus informal work on adolescent problem behavior. Crime & Delinquency, 52, 333–369.
In this article, the authors address the relationship between adolescent involvement in work and delinquency. Through the analyses of data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, the authors found that adolescents who work intensively in formal jobs are more delinquent and abuse substances more often than those who do not. Adolescents who engaged in informal employment (i.e., babysitting, lawn work) were more likely to abuse substances but less likely to be involved in delinquency. However, the authors also found that youth at high risk for delinquency and substance use, particularly boys, are more likely to seek formal employment. These findings are consistent with those of other studies (Bushway & Reuter, 2002; Uggen, 2000). Dr. Apel is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina. His research interests include patterns of victimization and the relationship between employment and deviance during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood.
Bullock, B. M., Deater-Deckard, K., & Leve, L. D. (2006). Deviant peer affiliation and problem behavior: A test of genetic and environmental influences. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34, 29–41.
This study investigates the genetic and environmental causes of childhood deviant peer affiliation and problem behavior by assessing 77 identical and 72 fraternal predominantly White twin pairs, ages 6 to 14. Each twin and his or her closest friend were assessed. Findings suggest that although children and adolescents are influenced to engage in problem behavior by deviant friends, individual differences among youth may also contribute to this process. The findings support the existing literature. Dr. Bullock is a research scientist and child and adolescent psychologist at the Child and Family Center at the University of Oregon. Her research includes examining the verbal behaviors and family and peer dynamics that lead to the development of behavior problems, anxiety, depression, and substance use from early childhood through adolescence.
Garbarino, J. (2001). Lost boys: Why our sons turn violent and how we can save them. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 71, 169–181.
In this article, the author proposes that the means children use to express their frustrations and anxieties have been shaped over the years by the environments in which they live. What was once responded to with words of anger or vandalism is today responded to with threats and the use of weapons. This article considers violent behavior in children from a psychosocial perspective and provides different lenses to better understand and address violence: an ecological perspective on human development, the accumulation of risk and opportunity in children, a professional humility about resilience, the inherent temperament of children, rejection, and spirituality. Regarding risk and opportunity, the author points to consistent research that shows that rarely, if ever, does a single risk or protective factor account for much in the outcome of children. Rather, based on the findings, the author concludes that the accumulation of risk and protective factors determines an outcome. Dr. Garbarino is a professor of psychology at Loyola University in Chicago. Dr. Garbarino’s research interests include child maltreatment, childhood aggression, and juvenile delinquency.
Hawkins, J. D., Herrenkohl, T. I., Farrington, D. P., Brewer, D., Catalano, R. F., Harachi, T. W., & Cothern, L. (2000). Predictors of youth violence. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, 1–12.
This article reviews more than 50 research studies on risk and protective factors and the development of serious and violent juvenile offending. Predictors of violent behavior were presented in five domains: individual, family, school, peer-related, and community and neighborhood factors. Analyses of data from the various studies were performed to determine the strength of the relationship between particular risk factors and violence. For youth ages 6 to 11, substance use, parent-child interaction, and being male were predictors of future violent behavior. For youth ages 12 to 14, predictors of violent behavior included school attitudes/performance, lack of social ties, being male, and parent-child relations. Many predictors of violent behavior are also predictors of substance abuse, delinquency, school dropout, and teen pregnancy. Based on these findings, the authors conclude that interventions targeting multiple predictors of violent behavior may be more effective in preventing violence than those that target single risk factors. Dr. Hawkins is a professor and the founding director of the Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work at the University of Washington, Seattle.
Jacobson, K. C., & Crockett, L. J. (2000). Parental monitoring and adolescent adjustment: An ecological perspective. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 10, 65–97.
The purpose of this study was to examine whether higher levels of parental monitoring were associated with higher adolescent grade point average (GPA), lower levels of adolescent depression, lower levels of adolescent sexual activity, and less juvenile delinquency. The authors also examined the relationships between gender, grade level, and mother’s work status and parental monitoring and youth outcomes. Participants were 424 2nd- through 12th-grade students from a rural school district in Pennsylvania. The sample included 197 boys. All students were White and came from predominantly lower-to-middle class backgrounds. Students completed a questionnaire that assessed their mental health and health-related behaviors. Results indicate that an increased level of parental monitoring was related to lower levels of delinquency for older adolescent boys. It was also observed that girls had better outcomes when their mothers were employed, whereas boys had poorer outcomes when their mothers were employed. No significant association was reported for GPA. Dr. Jacobson is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Chicago, Department of Psychiatry. Her primary research interests are how genetics and environmental influences interact in the development of antisocial behavior.
Kaufmann, D. R., Wyman, P. A. Forbes-Jones, E. L., & Barry, J. (2007). Prosocial involvement and antisocial peer affiliations as predictors of behavior problems in urban adolescents: Main effects and moderating effects. Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 417–434.
This study examined the impact of prosocial involvement (i.e., engaging in positive social activities) and association with antisocial peers on the behavior of urban adolescents. The slight majority of the 199 youth who were enrolled in this study were African American and boys (51 percent each). Children and adolescents were administered measures of conduct, delinquent behaviors, prosocial involvement (PI), and antisocial peer affiliation (APA) at three time points: in 2nd or 3rd grade; at ages 9 to 11; and at ages 13 to 15. Teachers and parents also completed measures of conduct and parents completed measures of delinquent behavior. Findings indicate that youth who engaged in positive social activities had fewer friends who engaged in antisocial behaviors. In addition, prosocial involvement predicted lower rates of delinquency. In contrast, involvement with antisocial peers predicted more conduct problems and delinquent behavior at ages 13-15. These findings suggest that programs that promote prosocial involvement may benefit youth who are at risk for engaging in delinquent behavior. Dr. Kaufmann is affiliated with the University of Rochester. Her research interests include adolescents’ socioemotional wellbeing, parent-child relationships, peer relations and risk and psychosocial risk and protective factors.
May, D. C., Vartanian, L. R., & Virgo, K. (2002). The impact of parental attachment and supervision on fear of crime among adolescent males. Adolescence, 37, 267–287.
The authors investigate whether parental attachment and supervision affect whether adolescents fear being victimized. For this study, 318 adolescent males in prison in a midwestern State were surveyed and reported on their demographics, perceived safety, perceptions of risk, and the effect of parental attachment and supervision. Although this sample is not truly representative of the adolescent male population, the authors note that this sample’s experiences might illustrate certain parental conditions that may contribute to fear of victimization. Of the sample population, males who reported feeling the most attached to their parents were also less fearful of criminal victimization and felt safer in their environment than males with weaker parental attachments. In addition, males who received closer supervision from their parents were more fearful of criminal victimization but have lower levels of perceived risk. Dr. May is an associate professor of correctional and juvenile justice and coordinator of the graduate degree program at Eastern Kentucky University. His areas of interest include alternative sentencing effects and gender and racial differences within the criminal justice system.
McClelland, G. M., Teplin, L. A., & Abram, K. M. (2004). Detection and prevalence of substance use among juvenile detainees. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, 1–16.
In this bulletin, the authors compare self-reported drug use with the results of urinalysis tests for the presence of drugs in a sample of 1,829 juvenile offenders at a juvenile detention center in Cook County, Illinois. Results indicate that the adolescents accurately reported their use of marijuana but not cocaine and other drugs. The authors believe that adolescents underreport the use of these drugs because the consequences of their use are more severe. Because urinalysis is more accurate than self-report for detecting drug use, the authors recommend using a combination of both self-report and testing. Boys, across all racial groups, accurately self-reported their marijuana use though accuracy improved with age. The authors point out that marijuana use usually leads to more serious drug abuse, and 94 percent of the youth surveyed had used drugs in their lifetimes. The findings from the study are supported by those of other studies (Dembo et al., 1999; Mieczkowski, Newel,  & Wraight, 1998). Dr. McClelland is a senior analyst in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.
Meadows, S. O. (2007). Evidence of parallel pathways: Gender similarity in the impact of social support on adolescent depression and delinquency. Social Forces, 85, 1143–1167.
This study seeks to determine whether the mechanism that leads to depression in adolescent girls and delinquency in adolescent boys is the same. It also examines the role social support from parents, peers, and school plays in the development of depression and delinquency. The author analyzed data from 12,958 adolescents who participated in the Add Health study, a nationally representative school-based survey of health and health-related behaviors of adolescents in grades 7 through 12. The author found that the development of both depression and delinquency follow similar paths. Results also confirmed that positive support from parents, peers, and teachers provides protection against depression and delinquency. This article is intended for other social science researchers. The author is a postdoctoral research associate in the Office of Population Research and the Center for Research on Child Wellbeing at Princeton University. Her primary research interests include mental health, stress and social support, family and marriage, child well-being, crime and delinquency, and gender.
Nebbitt, V. E., Lombe, M., & Lindsey, M. A. (2007). Perceived parental behavior and peer affiliations among urban African American adolescents. Social Work Research, 31, 163–169.
In this article, the authors examine the effects of parenting behavior on adolescents’ choice of peer groups, and they also assess the effects of age and gender on the relationship between parenting behavior and youths’ friendships. Researchers surveyed 238 African-American adolescents living in urban public housing projects. Girls reported significantly higher parental supervision than boys. No gender differences were found for parental encouragement and support. Results suggest that parental supervision and encouragement may have a protective effect against adolescents becoming friends with delinquent youths. The authors suggest that these findings may have implications for social work practice. Dr. Nebbitt is an assistant professor of social work at Howard University. His research focuses on the relationship between neighborhood risk and protective factors and health outcomes among adolescents.
Pardini, D., Obradovic, J., & Loeber, R. (2006). Interpersonal callousness, hyperactivity/impulsivity, inattention, and conduct problems as precursors to delinquency persistence in boys: A comparison of three grade-based cohorts. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35, 46–59.
Boys who are inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive and who have conduct problems may be at risk for exhibiting persistent delinquent behavior. Boys who have few friends may also be at risk for delinquent behavior. However, few studies have established the specific issues surrounding these behaviors or examined how they may predict future delinquent behavior as boys grow older. Using data from the Pittsburgh Youth Study, the authors explored these issues with approximately 500 boys in 1st grade, 4th grade, and 7th grades. Data were collected from parents, teachers, and students. Findings from this study indicate that hyperactivity, impulsiveness, conduct disorder, and inattentiveness were related from childhood to adolescence. However, conduct problems significantly predicted ongoing delinquency in first-grade students, whereas conduct problems and inattentiveness predicted ongoing delinquency in the fourth-grade students. Interpersonal problems with classmates predicted ongoing delinquency in seventh-grade students. The results suggest that the influence of specific predictors of delinquent behavior may change from childhood to adolescence. Dr. Pardini is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Paternoster, R., Bushway, S., Brame, R., & Apel, R. (2003). The effect of teenage employment on delinquency and problem behaviors. Social Forces, 82, 297–335.
The authors of this longitudinal study set out to determine whether working increases the likelihood of teen delinquent behavior. Data were drawn from the 1997 and 1999 National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth. Respondents were 12 to 16 years old. Contrary to expectations, results showed no significant association between adolescent work and antisocial behavior. This finding is also contrary to much of the previous research in this area (Bachman & Schulenberg, 1993; Wright, Cullen, & Williams, 1997). The authors suggest that delinquent behavior may be the result of pre-employment differences between youth rather than the effects of working. Dr. Paternoster is a professor of criminology and criminal justice at University of Maryland and a researcher at the Maryland Population Research Center.
Pedersen, S. (2005). Urban adolescents’ out-of-school activity profiles: Associations with youth, family, and school transition characteristics. Applied Developmental Science, 9, 107–124.
This study examined adolescents’ participation over time in school-based activities, religion, and team sports and the factors that predict engagement in these activities. Data were collected in four waves, each two years apart, from 1,430 inner-city youth in two cohorts: a “younger” cohort (i.e., in their final year of elementary school at Wave 1) and an “older” cohort (i.e., in their last year of middle school at Wave 1). Across waves, the majority of participants were girls and the most commonly reported race/ethnicity was Latina. Results show that participation in school-based activities decreased during adolescence while participation in religious activities increased. Three general profiles of participation were found: (1) above-average participation in multiple domains (i.e., school, religion, and/or sports); (2) above-average engagement in one domain; and (3) low participation. Parental unemployment predicted low or decreasing engagement in these activity domains. Dr. Pedersen is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Montreal’s Research Unit on Children’s Psychosocial Maladjustment.
Peterson, D., Taylor, T. J., & Esbensen, F. A. (2004). Gang membership and violent victimization. Justice Quarterly, 21, 793–815.
This study examined the relationship between gang membership, victimization, and reasons for joining a gang. The study used both cross-sectional and longitudinal data from a 5-year, multistate evaluation of a middle school-based youth gang prevention program. The cross-sectional data included a sample of 5,935 students, and the longitudinal data included a sample of 3,500 students. Results from the cross-sectional data indicate that gang members experienced higher levels of victimization than nongang youth before gang involvement, during gang involvement, and after leaving a gang. Longitudinal data showed that youth who joined gangs for protection did not have lower victimization rates once in a gang compared with youth who joined gangs for different reasons, such as being were forced to join, thinking it would be fun, or having a sibling or friend in a gang. The authors suggest that interventions should seek to lessen youths’ experiences as victims of violence, whereas prevention efforts should help dispel the myth that gangs provide a safe haven for their members. An assistant professor in the University at Albany’s School of Criminal Justice, Dr. Peterson studies the etiology of delinquency and youth gang membership.
Pruett, M. K., Davidson, L., McMahon, T. J., Ward, N. L., & Griffith, E. E. H. (2000). Comprehensive services for at-risk urban youth: Applying lessons from the community mental health movement. Children’s Services: Social Policy, Research, and Practice, 3, 63–83.
This article first reviews the current status of at-risk inner-city youth. Next, it describes lessons learned from the community mental health movement related to the process of creating integrated, community-based systems of care. Lessons learned include the need for wraparound, community-based services for at-risk populations; the creation of mechanisms for establishing and managing public sector service systems that combine local, State, and Federal funds; and the roles of empowerment and the integration of services with community resources in working with a disenfranchised and underserved population. Finally, the authors describe their own work in implementing a comprehensive model of service delivery for youth at risk. Their model integrates prevention, treatment, and advocacy for youth and their families and helps build bridges between schools and their communities to provide a community support services program that addresses the interrelated problems of school dropout and youth violence. Dr. Pruett is a noted speaker, clinician, and scholar. She is a professor at the Smith College School for Social Work.
Richards, M. H., Larson, R., Miller, B. V., Luo, Z., Sims, B., Parrella, D. P., et al. (2004). Risky and protective contexts and exposure to violence in urban African American young adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 138–148.
This article focuses on factors that may place young people at greater or lesser risk for exposure to community violence. The study examined which contexts may increase or decrease the likelihood that youth will be exposed to violence and whether exposure to violence leads to delinquent behaviors. Researchers surveyed 167 6th- through 8th-grade, African-American students of different income levels in Chicago. Results show that the more time adolescents spent with peers, unmonitored, or engaged in unstructured activities, the more likely it was that they would be exposed to violence and engage in delinquent behavior. Overall, boys were more likely to be exposed to violence and more likely to engage in delinquent behavior. These results are consistent with previous studies that found that unstructured time with peers is related to delinquent behaviors (Pettit, Bates, Dodge, & Meece, 1999). On the other hand, time spent with families and in structured activities was associated with less exposure to violence and fewer problem behaviors. Dr. Richards is a professor of clinical psychology at Loyola University Chicago. Her areas of interest include adolescence, African-American development, and exposure to violence. 
Roche, K. M., Ensminger, M. E., Chilcoat, H., & Storr, C. (2003). Establishing independence in low-income urban areas: The relationship to adolescent aggressive behavior. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65, 668–680.
The authors assert that adolescents in low-income, urban areas often assume independent, adult-like roles but that relatively little is known about the relationship between these roles and other adolescent behaviors. This study, therefore, examined the association between independent roles occurring within different contexts (e.g., family, peer, work) and aggressive behavior among 516 low-income, urban middle school students. Overall, adolescents were found to be less aggressive when establishing independence within familiar contexts and more aggressive outside familiar settings. Adolescent employment was associated with increased aggression. However, unemployed adolescents tended to be more aggressive when dating and attending parties than employed adolescents. Higher levels of parental monitoring and lower levels of deviant peer affiliation and neighborhood aggression were related to decreases in youth aggressive behavior during middle school, which is consistent with previous research findings (Herrenkohl et al., 2000; Loeber & Stouthamer-Loeber, 1986). The authors stress the complexity of teenagers’ lives today and note that aggressive behavior can be influenced by any number of variables. Dr. Roche is an assistant professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Her research focuses on the influence of families and neighborhoods on adolescent health and well-being.
Ryan, L. G., Miller-Loessi, K., & Nieri, T. (2007). Relationships with adults as predictors of substance use, gang involvement, and threats to safety among disadvantaged urban high-school students. Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 1053–1071.
This study examines whether specific types of relationships with parents and school personnel protect teens from substance use, gang involvement, and other threats to physical safety. The participants included 342 ethnically diverse high school students in economically disadvantaged urban areas in the southwestern United States. Among other factors, the authors measured generalized parental support, open communication between adolescents and adults (self-disclosure), parental monitoring, and relationships with teachers/adults at school. The findings indicate that self-disclosure, parental monitoring, and generalized support from parents and school personnel provide a protective factor against teen substance use and threats to safety. On the other hand, the study found that adult relationships are less important than other factors, such as race/ethnic identity, substance use, and risk-seeking behaviors in determining gang involvement. Overall, a teen’s self-disclosure to parents had the greatest influence on preventing risk behaviors. In light of this finding, the authors suggest that high-risk adolescents and their parents could benefit from programs that work toward teaching communication skills. The first author is affiliated with the Tucson Unified School District. Dr. Miller-Loessi is a faculty associate in the School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University.
Sharpe, E. G., & Litzelfelner, P. (2004). Juvenile case characteristics and risk factors as predictors of re-offenses. Journal for Juvenile Justice Services, 19, 73–84.
Using a nonexperimental design, this study examined juvenile case records to determine which case characteristics and risk factors may predict whether juvenile offenders will go on to re-offend. The sample included first-time offenders, ages 10 to 15, who entered the court system over a period of 3 years. The study found that youth who were in the custody of county or State services at the time of the original offense or who committed a drug crime were more likely to re-offend. Youth who had prior charges or known gang-related activity were also likely to re-offend. The authors suggest that removing or preventing these factors may disrupt the cycle of juvenile delinquency. In addition, these findings can assist practitioners who work with youth in identifying and providing intervention services to those who are likely to commit crimes. Dr. Sharpe is affiliated with East Carolina University School of Social Work and Criminal Justice Studies.
Staff, J., & Uggen, C. (2003). The fruits of good work: Early work experiences and adolescent deviance. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 40, 263–290.
In this article, the authors characterize the ideal job held during the high school years and examine the potential link between early work experiences and adolescent deviant behavior (disruption in school, alcohol use, and arrest). The researchers used data from the Youth Development Study, a longitudinal study of more than 1, 000 students who were assessed over several years beginning in ninth grade. Researchers examined different job characteristics and their potential link to adolescent outcomes. Through extensive statistical analyses, the results demonstrated that to reduce delinquency, adolescents’ jobs must support academic achievement and offer genuine opportunities to learn something useful. Researchers also noted that jobs in which students worked alone and were paid high wages were associated with increased delinquent behavior. Dr. Staff is an assistant professor of Crime, Law, and Justice and Sociology at Penn State University. His research interests include criminology and life course studies
Stouthamer-Loeber, M., & Loeber, R. (2002). Lost opportunities for intervention: Undetected markers for the development of serious juvenile delinquency. Criminal Behavior and Mental Health, 12, 69–82.
This study explores the age at which boys begin to develop serious persistent juvenile delinquency. The authors investigate the proportion of delinquent boys who meet the criteria for a disruptive behavior disorder diagnosis and the proportion of delinquent boys receiving help. The analyses included eight waves of data from the Pittsburgh Youth Study, along with juvenile court records, diagnostic information, and information about help for mental health problems. Findings indicate that almost half the boys who eventually become persistent serious offenders have already developed serious delinquent behavior by age 12. Two-thirds of the boys in juvenile court had had behavior problems for at least 5 years, and one-third were diagnosed as having a disruptive behavior disorder by age 13. However, offenders with less than half the persistent serious delinquency had received any help from either mental health professionals or personnel in schools. Dr. Stouthamer-Loeber works with the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research includes the progression of antisocial and delinquent behaviors in males, factors associated with the onset of conduct disorders, and factors involved in parents’ seeking help for their children’s behavior problems.
Stouthamer-Loeber, M., Loeber, R., Wei, E., Farrington, D. P., Wilkstöm, P. O. (2002). Risk and promotive effects in the explanation of persistent serious delinquency in boys. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70, 111–123.
This study examined the prevalence of persistent serious delinquency among boys and risk and protective factors as predictors of delinquency. Persistent serious juvenile delinquency was defined as engaging in serious delinquent behavior (e.g., selling drugs, robbery) more than once over the course of the study. Data were drawn from a larger longitudinal study; the sample for the present study included 1,009 boys in the 1st (i.e., youngest sample) and 7th grades (i.e., oldest sample). Fifty percent of the boys were African American and fifty percent were Caucasian. The prevalence of persistent serious delinquency was 22 percent in the youngest sample and 37 percent in the oldest sample. The strongest risk factors for delinquency in the oldest sample were low school motivation, bad friends, and living in a disadvantaged neighborhood while the strongest protective factors were high accountability and good relationships with parents. The strongest risk factors for delinquency in the youngest sample were cruel to people, manipulative, low ability to feel guilt, and low school motivation and the strongest protective factors were high accountability, trustworthiness, ability to feel guilt, school motivation, and living in nondisadvantaged neighborhood. Dr. Stouthamer-Loeber works with the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research includes the progression of antisocial and delinquent behaviors in males, factors associated with the onset of conduct disorders, and factors involved in parents’ seeking help for their children’s behavior problems.
Stouthamer-Loeber, M., Wei, E. H., Homish, D. L., & Loeber, R. (2002). Which family and demographic factors are related to both maltreatment and persistent serious juvenile delinquency? Children’s Services: Social Policy, Research and Practice, 5, 261–272.
This study examines the prevalence of maltreatment in boys and how maltreatment is related to persistent serious delinquent behavior. The study sample consisted of 503 boys in the Pittsburgh Youth Study and followed an experimental design in which victims of maltreatment were compared with individuals in a nonmaltreated control group. One-fifth of the sample had substantiated maltreatment. The study also showed that maltreated boys have a higher rate than nonmaltreated boys of persistent serious delinquency. Maltreated boys and boys with persistent serious delinquency share many family risk factors, including not living with both biological parents, having a teenage mother, having a caretaker without a high school diploma, and having an unemployed caretaker. After controlling for family interaction and family demographics, maltreatment did not have an independent effect on persistent serious delinquency, which is consistent with previous research. Dr. Stouthamer-Loeber works with the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research includes the progression of antisocial and delinquent behaviors in males, factors associated with the onset of conduct disorders, and factors involved in parents’ seeking help for their children’s behavior problems.
Taylor, T. J., Peterson, D., Esbensen, F. A., & Freng, A. (2007). Gang membership as a risk factor for adolescent violent victimization. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 44, 351–380.
This article describes a study that used cross-sectional survey data from a sample of 5,935 eighth graders in public schools in 11 communities across the United States. The study examined the different rates at which gang members and nongang members experience violent victimization; what factors may contribute to those differences; and whether, controlling for other factors, gang membership is a salient correlate of violent victimization. Results indicate that gang members were significantly more likely to be violently victimized and experience a greater number of victimizations than their nongang peers. Gang members also report greater levels of risk factors and lower levels of protective factors. In addition, males were twice as likely as their female counterparts to be violently victimized. These findings are consistent with other studies that investigated the link between gang membership and violent victimization (Miller, 1998, 2001; Peterson, Taylor, & Esbensen, 2004; see above). Dr. Taylor is an associate professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His primary research interests include juvenile victimization and offending, with an emphasis on the role of race/ethnicity.
Tolan, P. H., Gorman-Smith, D., & Henry, D. B. (2003). The developmental ecology of urban males’ youth violence. Developmental Psychology, 39, 274–291.
In this study, the authors test a developmental ecological model of violence with data from a longitudinal study of 294 African-American and Latino adolescent boys and their caregivers living in low-income, urban communities. Results indicate that youth involvement in violence depends on multiple social and environmental factors, including parenting, peer violence, gang membership, neighborhood social organization, and community structural characteristics (e.g., economic, social, political). Parenting practices partially mediated the relationship between neighborhood elements and gang membership. Findings suggest that in the poorest and most crime-ridden communities, there is less felt support among neighbors, a lower sense of belonging to the neighborhood, and lower involvement in the community, which may lead to more violence among youth. Dr. Tolan is director of the Institute for Juvenile Research and professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on risk and prevention among children, youth and families, and their developmental settings.
Van Horn, M. L., Hawkins, J. D., Arthur, M. W., & Catalano, R. F. (2007). Assessing community effects on adolescent substance use and delinquency. Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 925–946.
In this study, researchers asked community leaders to rate community-level risk factors to investigate how well these ratings predict adolescent problem behavior and substance abuse. The sample consisted of 30,978 students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 and 602 community leaders in 41 predominantly White communities. Community leaders rated their communities on four risk factors: community norms favorable to substance use, community law enforcement permissive of substance use, low neighborhood attachment (lack of feeling like part of a community), and community disorganization (problems with the levels and handling of crime and violence). Results indicate that community leaders’ perceptions were valid and useful. Community leaders and students demonstrated modest agreement in assessments of community risk factors. Leader ratings of community norms and community law enforcement permissiveness were directly related to levels of serious delinquency. Findings support that community leaders’ ratings serve as a predictor of student problem behaviors. The authors suggest that these findings have implications for developing prevention efforts based on community-level risk and protective factors. Dr. Van Horn is an assistant professor of quantitative psychology at the University of South Carolina.
Wiesner, M., & Windle, M. (2004). Assessing covariates of adolescent delinquency trajectories: A latent growth mixture modeling approach. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 33, 431–442.
This study identifies the possible pathways that adolescents take that lead to juvenile delinquency and explores potential factors that affect which path young people take. The four-wave panel study focused on 1,218 high school sophomores and juniors from three suburban high schools in upstate New York. Using advanced statistical modeling, six distinct delinquency pathways, ranging from rare offenders to high-level chronic offenders were identified. Results showed that about two-thirds of adolescents who took pathways that led to more serious offending began their delinquent activities before age 15. Chronically delinquent youth were found to have poorer academic achievement, unsupportive family environments, more negative life events, and adjustment problems. The study results show a higher level of specificity between the close relationships of distinctive offending trajectories than previous studies showed. Dr. Weisner is an assistant professor at the Center for the Advancement of Youth Health and the Comprehensive Youth Violence Center at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.
Williams, J. H., Van Dorn, R. A., Ayers, C. D., Bright, C. L., Abbott, R. D., & Hawkins, J. D. (2007). Understanding race and gender differences in delinquent acts and alcohol and marijuana use: A developmental analysis of initiation. Social Work Research, 31, 71–81.
This study explores the relationship between juvenile crime and adolescent substance abuse while looking at race and gender differences. Data were drawn from the Seattle Social Development Project, a longitudinal study that identifies childhood risk and protective factors relating to delinquency and substance abuse. The study sample consisted of 588 African-American and Caucasian youth, half of them male. Data were collected at five intervals, from 7th through 12th grades. Results show a significant relationship between the role of family and peers and the use of substances or delinquent acts. A family that is less economically well-off and less involved, especially in a male adolescent’s life, increases the likelihood that the child will get in trouble. Peers engaging in delinquent behavior increase the odds of a boy becoming involved in substance use. African-American boys have higher rates of delinquency, violent acts, and involvement with the law than Caucasian youth, although Caucasian adolescents are more likely to initiate alcohol or marijuana use. The authors recommend that better enforcement of consequences for engaging in delinquent behavior is essential for youth development. Dr. Williams is dean of the Graduate School of Social Work at University of Denver. His primary areas of research include mental health, delinquency, youth violence, and social issues in the African-American community.
Williams-Evans, S. A. & Myers, J. S. (2004). Adolescent violence. The ABNF Journal, 15, 31–34.
This review examines the literature regarding violence among adolescents in the United States. The developmental stages of adolescence and the contextual factors that influence adolescent development (e.g., parent-child relationships, family environment) are discussed. The authors review social learning theory and family systems theory and describe how these theories can be used to understand adolescent violence. Implications of the results and suggestions for addressing adolescent violence are provided. At the time of publication, Dr. Williams-Evans was an associate professor of nursing at North Carolina A & T State University School of Nursing.
Xie, H., Cairns, R. B., & Cairns, B. D. (2002).  The development of social aggression and physical aggression: A narrative analysis of interpersonal conflicts. Aggressive Behavior, 28, 341–355.
This longitudinal study evaluates the relationship between social aggression and physical aggression in childhood and future maladjustment (e.g., poor school performance and school dropout). The authors conducted interviews with 510 participants in the 4th, 7th, and 12th grades. Results support previous research that boys tend to use physical aggression, whereas girls are more likely to use social aggression. While social aggression did not have a negative influence on future development of the aggressor, the study supports findings from previous research that physical aggression is related to future maladjustment of the aggressor. A suggestion the article offers to explain this difference is that behaviors involved in social aggression are part of normal social interaction whereas physical aggression is not accepted as normative behavior and is often linked to risk factors in other areas of development. The first author is an assistant professor of psychology at Temple University. The author’s research interests include gender differences in the development of different forms of aggressive behaviors, peer social dynamics in school, and the developmental pathways of risk and resilience throughout development.
Xie, H., Li, Y., Boucher, S. M., Hutchins, B. C., & Cairns, B. D. (2006).  What makes a girl (or boy) popular (or unpopular)?  African American children’s perceptions and developmental differences. Developmental Psychology, 42, 599–612.
The authors of this study interviewed 489 African-American 1st, 4th, and 7th graders from high-risk, inner-city neighborhoods to determine what factors contribute to a child’s popularity (or unpopularity). Results show that factors that influence the perception of popularity change as a function of a child’s age and gender. The older students were more likely than younger students to identify antisocial behaviors as a contributor to popularity. Aggressive and deviant behaviors were more positively associated with boys’ popularity. Findings suggest that peer social networks may support the development of more aggressive and deviant behaviors among African-American adolescent boys in high-risk contexts. The authors suggest further study of how individual, peer, and social networks influence minority children’s development in high-risk settings and the effect of these networks on the development of gender differences in antisocial behaviors. The first author is an assistant professor of psychology at Temple University. Her research focuses on gender differences in the development of different forms of aggressive behaviors, peer social dynamics in school, and the developmental pathways of risk and resilience throughout development.

Juvenile Delinquency — Interventions/Programs

Chamberlain, P., & Reid, J. B. (1998). Comparison of two community alternatives to incarceration for chronic juvenile offenders. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66, 624–633.
This study explored whether two community alternatives to incarceration for chronic juvenile offenders were effective in reducing recidivism. Over a 4-year period, 79 boys, ages 12 to 17, who had histories of serious and chronic delinquency and who were referred for community placement by the juvenile justice system, were randomly assigned to either Multi-Dimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) or group care (GC). Each boy in MTFC participated in weekly individual therapy focusing on building skills in problem-solving, social perspective-taking, and nonaggressive methods of self-expression. Boys in the GC group were treated with a peer-culture approach. Results indicate that participation in MTFC resulted in more favorable outcomes than participation in GC. Boys ran away less frequently from MTFC than from GC, completed their programs more often, and were locked up in detention or training schools less frequently. MTFC boys also had fewer criminal referrals and reported fewer delinquent acts and violent or serious crimes, suggesting that MTFC was effective in the short run at reducing criminal activity for serious juvenile offenders. Longer term outcomes remain to be demonstrated. Dr. Chamberlain works with the Center for Research to Practice and Oregon Social Learning Center.
Farrell, A. D., Meyer, A. L., & White, K. S. (2001). Evaluation of Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RIPP): A school-based prevention program for reducing violence among adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 30, 451–463.
In this article, the authors evaluate the effectiveness of a school-based violence prevention program for adolescents, Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RIPP). The program focuses on situational and relationship violence, aiming to build social skills and personal responsibility among students. Students in the program were tested before and after the year long course and then 6 and 12 months later. Results indicate that participants had fewer disciplinary problems and suspensions during the year than those in the control classrooms. Boys maintained this behavior through the 12-month followup. Students also reported more frequent use of peer mediation and less involvement in fights. Those reporting improved behavior tended to be those initially exhibiting high levels of aggression. The authors note that the program is more effective when there is schoolwide participation, and recommend additional training components for teachers, parents, and the community. Dr. Farrell is a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and director of the Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development. His research focuses on the identification of risk and protective factors related to adolescent problem behaviors, such as violence and drug use.
Griffith, D. M., Allen, J. O., Zimmerman, M. A., Morrel-Samuels, S., Rieschl, T. M., Cohen, S. E., et al. (2008). Organizational empowerment in community mobilization to address youth violence. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 34(Suppl 3), S89–S99.
In this article, the authors describe a case study of a Michigan city’s youth violence prevention center. The goals of the center were to prevent youth violence and create community change, help organizations divert youth from destructive activities and involve them in neighborhood projects, and change the social and physical environment to prevent or reduce youth violence. Researchers conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with members of the center’s board of directors over a period of 4 years. Data indicate that the center was able to achieve many of its goals and promote community-level change for youth violence prevention through pooling of resources among community partners. One example of the center’s success was a project that linked middle school students with community organizations to work on community improvement projects. Dr. Griffith is a clinical-community psychologist and an assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. His research examines environmental and contextual factors that differentially influence health, health behavior, and healthcare quality.
Lane, J., & Lanza-Kaduce, L. (2007). Before you open the doors: Ten lessons from Florida’s faith and community-based delinquency treatment initiative. Evaluation Review, 31, 121–152.
This article is an evaluation of the design and implementation of the pilot project, Florida Faith and Community-Based Delinquency Treatment Initiative, for incarcerated juveniles. The pilot project was designed to serve youth in five moderate- and high-risk residential programs across the State; three programs served boys and two served girls. The article presents 10 key lessons learned from Florida’s experience to provide guidance to other programs hoping to develop similar services. Lessons address the challenges of separating church and State at a government-run facility, the importance of strong and experienced leadership, effective management of contracting providers, careful consideration in selecting program participants, and the selection of a program model that is supported by research. This article does not address the experiences of the youth participating in the program or the program outcomes. Dr. Lane is an associate professor of criminology, law, and society at the University of Florida. The authors’ primary research interests include fear of crime, juvenile justice, corrections, crime policy, recidivism, police-citizen encounters, substance use, and program evaluation.
Lochman, J. E., & Wells, K. C. (2004). The Coping Power Program for preadolescent aggressive boys and their parents: Outcome effects at the 1-year follow-up. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 571–578.
This study evaluates the effectiveness of the Coping Power Program, a preventive intervention for aggressive children. The intervention addresses deficits in social competence, self-regulation, school bonding, and positive parental involvement. The study included 1,578 fourth- and fifth-grade boys and their families, randomly assigned to the intervention or control group. One year following the intervention, the evaluation found that the Coping Power Program produced lower rates of “covert” delinquent behavior among boys than the rates in the group that did not receive the program. The evaluation also found improvements in teacher-rated behavior in school among boys participating in the program. This article is intended for social science researchers and program providers who may be interested in implementing the Coping Power Program. Dr. Lochman is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alabama. His research interests include prevention and treatment of aggressive and antisocial behavior in children and adolescents, as well as contextual and parenting risk factors for children’s aggressive behavior.
Meyer, A. L., Cohen, R., Edmonds, T., & Masho, S. (2008). Developing a comprehensive approach to youth violence prevention in a small city.  American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 34 (Suppl 3), S13–S20.
Using a social-ecological framework, this study describes the implementation of a community mobilization process to prevent youth violence and promote positive youth development in the city of Richmond, Virginia. Working collaboratively with a local university to assess the needs of the community members, the authors found that many youth felt helpless to change their environments. Other factors identified as being associated with youth violence include family violence, child abuse, use of alcohol and drugs, peer influences, unresponsive school systems, easy access to firearms, and limited access to positive role models. Youth also identified protective factors, such as positive parent-child communication, positive caregivers and mentors, opportunities for “fun” activities, reducing access to firearms, and eliminating the availability of drugs and alcohol. Some of the lessons learned from implementing the community mobilization process include the need to empower the community, the need to share responsibilities and feedback, and the need to understand and appreciate respective partners’ strengths. Dr. Meyer is an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Community Health at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Mirabal, B., López-Sánchez, G., Franco-Ortiz, M., & Méndez, M. (2008). Developing partnerships to advance youth violence prevention in Puerto Rico: The role of an academic center of excellence. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 34 (Suppl 3), S56–S61.
In this article, the authors discuss a community’s approach to reduce youth violence in a high-risk Puerto Rican community, as well as the challenges the authors faced. The article describes the following steps in the community mobilization initiative: (1) develop partnerships to identify community risk and protective factors; (2) develop a strategic plan; (3) form an advisory board; (4) establish a school-community task force; and (5) create and disseminate a directory of community agencies and organizations that deal with violence prevention. Some challenges encountered include gaining trust, diversity within the community, engaging male participants, and overcoming the media’s portrayal of poor neighborhoods. The authors conclude that a community’s active participation in all stages of the mobilization process contributes to a sense of ownership. Dr. Mirabal is a pediatrician in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. She founded and currently directs the Bio-Psychosocial Program for the multidisciplinary evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of child victims of intra-family violence.

[ Go to Contents ]

Mental Health

Carter, E. W., & Lunsford, L. B. (2005). Meaningful work: Improving employment outcomes for transition-age youth with emotional and behavioral disorders. Preventing School Failure, 49, 63–69.
This article is a literature review that seeks to identify the components of secondary educational programming that may contribute to improved employment outcomes for adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). The authors recommend that comprehensive and effective transitional programming for young adults with EBD address four key skill areas–social, vocational, academic, and self-determination–and four key support areas–community linkages, workplace supports, family involvement, and student involvement. This article is intended for practitioners providing secondary transition services to adolescents with EBD. Dr. Carter is an assistant professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The author’s research interests include adolescents with disabilities, students with behavioral problems, and secondary transition from school to adult life.
Cho, H., Hallfors, D. D., & Iritani, B. J. (2007). Early initiation of substance use and subsequent risk factors related to suicide among urban high school students. Addictive Behaviors, 32, 1628–1639.
This study investigates the association between the age at which young people began to use drugs and alcohol and their risk factors related to suicide. Early onset of substance use has been considered to be an important risk factor for subsequent problem behaviors and psychiatric disorders (DuRant, Smith, Kreiter, & Krowchuk, 1999). Data were collected from 1,252 adolescents in grades 9 through 11 in 9 high schools in 2 large urban school districts. Students completed surveys that asked about their substance use, depressive symptoms, suicide ideation, suicidal ideation specifically during alcohol and/or drug use, belief in suicide as a personal option, and suicide attempt. Results show that the earlier onset of hard drug use among boys was associated with all five suicide risk factors. Among girls, earlier onset of regular cigarette smoking, drinking, and hard drug use was associated with some of the suicide risk factors. Findings suggest the importance of screening for substance use in early adolescence and indicate that both research and intervention efforts should incorporate gender differences.  Dr. Cho is a research scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.
Copeland, W. E., Keeler, G., Angold, A., & Costello, E. J. (2007). Traumatic events and posttraumatic stress in childhood. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64, 577–584.
This epidemiological study assessed posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS) in children and adolescents to examine factors including their prevalence and co-occurrence with other disorders. Data were drawn from the larger, longitudinal Great Smoky Mountains Study; the sample for the present study included 790 boys and 630 girls between the ages of 9 and 16, of whom almost 70 percent were White and about 25 percent were American Indian. Results of this study show that by the age of 16, almost two-thirds of adolescents had been exposed to at least one traumatic event (e.g., violence, sexual trauma). However, diagnoses of PTSD were rare with less than 1 percent of adolescents meeting the criteria for this disorder. In contrast, symptoms of PTS were more common; about 13 percent of adolescents reported symptoms (i.e., painful recall, subclinical PTSD). Adolescents who were exposed to a traumatic event were about twice as likely to have a psychiatric disorder compared with those who were not exposed to traumatic events. The most common disorders co-occurring with exposure to traumatic events were anxiety and depressive disorders. Dr. Copeland is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center.
Costello, E. J., Compton, S. N., Keeler, G., & Angold, A. (2003). Relationships between poverty and psychopathology: A natural experiment. JAMA, 290, 2023–2029.
In this study, the authors examined two alternative explanations for poverty: social causation (i.e., environmental factors such as stress and adversity) and social selection (i.e., genetic predisposition toward downward mobility). They also investigated the link between poverty and mental illness. This natural experiment examined the effect on psychopathology of an annually increasing, supplementary income given to American Indians after a casino was opened on their reservation. Data were drawn from the larger, longitudinal Great Smoky Mountains Study; the sample for the present study included 790 boys and 630 girls between the ages of 9 and 16, of whom almost 70 percent were White and about 25 percent were American Indian. Results support a social causation explanation for poverty. Specifically, movement out of poverty was associated with a decrease in psychiatric symptoms, whereas psychiatric symptoms, particularly behavioral disorders including conduct disorder, remained high among persistently poor children (i.e., children whose families were poor before the casino opened and remained poor subsequent to the opening of the casino). Dr. Costello is a professor of medical psychology at Duke University Medical Center where she also helps run the Center for Developmental Epidemiology.
Costello, E. J., Keeler, G. P., & Angold, A. (2001). Poverty, race/ethnicity, and psychiatric disorder: A study of rural children. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 1494–1498.
This epidemiological study examined the prevalence of mental health disorders in poor and non-poor Black and White children living in rural areas. The sample was drawn from four rural counties in North Carolina and included 541 Black children and 379 White children between the ages of 9 and 17. Results show that Black families had a much lower mean income than White families and that this income gap increased as incomes decreased. There were no racial differences in psychiatric diagnoses among nonpoor children; however, poor White children were 60 percent more likely to have a psychiatric diagnosis than poor Black children. Specifically, the prevalence of emotional disorders and disruptive behavior disorders was higher among poor White children than poor Black children. Black and White children reported similar numbers of risk factors (e.g., parental psychiatric disorder, multiple moves), and poverty was associated with an increase in the number of risk factors reported for both groups. However, the association between poverty and psychiatric disorders was stronger for White children than for Black children. Dr. Costello is a professor of medical psychology at Duke University Medical Center where she also helps run the Center for Developmental Epidemiology.
Costello, E. J., Mustillo, S., Erkanli, A., Keeler, G., & Angold, A. (2003). Prevalence and development of psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence. Archives of General Psychiatry, 60, 837–844.
The objectives of this epidemiological study were to examine the prevalence of psychiatric disorders among adolescents of different ages, to determine whether prevalence of these disorders changes over time, and to assess common comorbidities. Data were drawn from the larger Great Smoky Mountains Study; the sample for the present study included 790 boys and 630 girls between the ages of 9 and 16, of whom almost 70 percent were White and about 25 percent were American Indian. Results of the present study show that the prevalence of any disorder was highest among 9- to 10-year-olds, lowest among 12-year-olds, and gradually increased after age 12. By the age of 16, almost 37 percent of adolescents reached the criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder. By age 16, boys had a higher prevalence of conduct disorder and ADHD whereas girls had a higher prevalence of depression and anxiety disorders. There were significant comorbidities between the behavioral disorders as well as between anxiety and depression. Dr. Costello is a professor of medical psychology at Duke University Medical Center where she also helps run the Center for Developmental Epidemiology. 
Cotton, S., Larkin, E., Hoopes, A., Cromer, B. A., & Rosenthal, S. L. (2005). The impact of adolescent spirituality on depressive symptoms and health risk behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 36, 529-543.
This article provides an assessment of high school students’ level of religiosity (belief in a god or higher power) and existential well-being (belief that life is good) and correlates those levels to symptoms of depression and behaviors that risk their health. Results show that 89 percent of the 9th through 12th graders surveyed reported they believed in a god or higher power, and 77 percent said religion was important in their lives. The 76 percent of students reporting existential well-being also reported fewer symptoms of depression or risky behaviors, such as drinking and driving, using drugs, or carrying a weapon. Although males reported more high-risk behaviors, the authors attributed the finding to gender, rather than a religious or spiritual interaction. Dr. Cotton is an assistant professor of research at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.
Courtenay, W. H. (2003). Key determinants of the health and the well-being of men and boys. International Journal of Men’s Health, 2, 1–27.
This article provides an overview of the health and healthcare needs of men and boys in the United States. A self-administered health risk assessment identified 30 key elements that determine physical and mental health and summarized under the following four categories: behaviors of men and boys; health-related beliefs and the expression of emotions or physical distress; biological, economic, cultural, and environmental factors; and health care. The authors reported that 3 of 4 deaths of 15- to 24-year-olds were male; boys were more likely to report no support when feeling stressed or overwhelmed; and boys were at a greater risk for mental health problems diagnosed in childhood. The authors suggest that efforts to address these health risks through research, practice, and policy could contribute to better health for boys and men, as well as healthier families and communities. Dr. Courtenay is a professor at Sonoma State University and director of Men’s Health Consulting in Berkeley, California.
Davis, G. Y., & Stevenson, H. C. (2006). Racial socialization experiences and symptoms of depression among Black youth. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 15, 303–317.
This study investigates the relationship of racial socialization experiences and depression symptoms among 160 Black adolescents. Specifically, this study examines racial socialization experiences as a predictor of differential depression symptoms for boys and girls over and above the influence of demographics. Measures of depression symptoms included tiredness, low self-esteem, irritability, guilt, difficulty thinking, negativity and sad mood, and helplessness. Results demonstrated that youth, especially boys, who reported they were raised to have pride in their race also reported feeling less tired and having higher levels of self-esteem. Black youth who were raised to be alert to instances of discrimination reported feeling helpless. Youth who reported living in neighborhoods with positive resources tended to show a significantly lower degree of helplessness. Additional analytic models showed that experiences regarding race and discrimination influenced depressive symptoms over and above the influences of gender, neighborhood risk, and resources. The authors provide recommendations for families and mental health professionals and encourage the development of culturally relevant social interventions. Dr. Davis is a consulting psychologist for Resources for Change in Philadelphia.
Eisenberg, M. E., Sieving, R. E., Bearinger, L. H., Swain, C., & Resnick, M. D. (2006). Parents’ communication with adolescents about sexual behavior: A missed opportunity for prevention? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 893–902.
This study explores how often and why parents talk to their teens about sexual health. The sample consisted of 1,069 mostly White parents of 13- to 17-year-olds who responded to a telephone survey in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Results show that parents who believed their teens were romantically involved were up to 2.5 times more likely to have talked to them about sex-related topics than parents who believed their children had never been in a romantic relationship. The authors note that parents are more likely to affect their children’s behavior when conversation takes place before the behavior is initiated. They also suggest that parents may miss their best opportunity for preventing risky sexual behaviors by waiting to communicate until they perceive a need. Dr. Eisenberg is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the social influence on high-risk health behaviors among adolescents.
Farmer, E. M. Z., Burns, B. J., Phillips, S. D., Angold, A., & Costello, E. J. (2003). Pathways into and through mental health services for children and adolescents. Psychiatric Services, 54, 60–66.
The objectives of this epidemiological study were to examine how children and adolescents enter into and move through the mental health service system. The authors examined service use in five areas: specialty mental health, education, general medicine, juvenile justice, and child welfare. Data were drawn from the larger Great Smoky Mountains Study; the sample for the present study included 790 boys and 630 girls between the ages of 9 and 16, of whom almost 90 percent were White. Results show that more than half (54 percent) of adolescents had used mental health services at some point in their lives. The most common point of entry was the education area; however, children and adolescents who entered the mental health service system through this sector were the least likely to receive additional services through other sectors. In contrast, children and adolescents who entered the system through the specialty mental health sector were the most likely to receive additional services in other sectors. These findings suggest a need for coordination among sectors in order to ensure appropriate treatment for children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders. Dr. Farmer is affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Duke University School of Medicine.
Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Merikangas, K. R.,  & Walters, E. E. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 593–602.
This epidemiological study examined the lifetime prevalence and age of onset of psychiatric disorders using data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Participants were 9,282 individuals ages 18 and older; these individuals provided retrospective accounts of age of onset of psychiatric disorders. Results of this study show that the lifetime prevalence for any disorder was about 46 percent, indicating that almost half of all Americans meet the criteria for mental illness at some point in their lives. Age of onset differed for different disorders: anxiety and impulse-control disorders had a median age of onset of 11 years; substance use disorders had a median age of onset of 20 years; and mood disorders had a median age of onset of 30 years. With respect to anxiety disorders, the median age of onset was 7 years for specific phobia and separation anxiety disorder and 13 years for social phobia; the other anxiety disorders had a median age of onset in adulthood. Dr. Kessler is a professor of healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School. His research interests include epidemiological study of the prevalence and correlates of psychiatric disorders among adolescents and adults in the United States as well as changes in mental health treatment.
Kilpatrick,  D. G., Ruggiero, K, J., Acierno, R., Saunders, B. E., Resnick, H. S., & Best,  C. L. (2003). Violence and risk of PTSD, major depression, substance abuse/dependence, and comorbidity: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 692–700.
The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive episode, and substance abuse/dependence would increase following exposure to interpersonal violence. Data were drawn from a national household probability sample of over 4,000 adolescents. The sample for the present study included 2,002 boys and 1,904 girls between the ages of 12 and 17; data were weighted so that the sample was representative of U.S. Census data. About two times the proportion of girls than boys met the criteria for PTSD and major depressive episode, while the proportion of girls and boys with substance abuse/dependence was similar. About 75 percent of adolescents with PTSD had a comorbid disorder versus 40 percent of those with a major depressive episode or substance abuse/dependence. Findings suggest that exposure to interpersonal violence (e.g., physical assault, witnessed violence, sexual assault) was linked to increased risk of PTSD, major depressive episode, and substance abuse/dependence. Dr. Kilpatrick is the Director of the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Medical University of South Carolina. His research interests include measuring the scope and mental health impact of potentially traumatic events.
Mandara, J., & Murray, C. B. (2000). Effects of parental marital status, income, and family functioning on African American adolescent self-esteem. Journal of Family Psychology, 14, 475–490.
This article examines the effects of family characteristics on African-American youth. Specifically, the study investigates the effects of marital status, family income, and parenting styles on adolescent self-esteem. The study sample included 106 African American adolescents, age 15, and their families. The study found that African-American adolescent boys with unmarried parents are at risk for developing low self-esteem compared with other African-American adolescents. However, the study found that a parenting style that provides a more structured environment may buffer the effects of having unmarried parents. Dr. Mandara is an assistant professor of human development and social policy at the Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy. His research examines the nature and effects of socialization and father’s involvement and how they interact with gender, race, and socioeconomic status to affect youths’ academic and social development.
Mandara, J., & Murray, C. B. (2002). Development of an empirical typology of African American family functioning. Journal of Family Psychology, 16, 318–337.
This study identifies different types of African-American families to determine whether specific family structures have a positive or negative effect on adolescent self-esteem. The study sample included 106 African-American adolescents, age 15, and their families. The authors identified three distinct types of families based on parenting style and found that these parenting styles, along with specific demographic factors (e.g., marital status, education, income) predicted adolescent self-esteem. Of particular concern were single-parent families with below average education and income who displayed chaotic family processes, because adolescents in this family structure tended to suffer from low-self esteem. This article is intended for family and social science researchers, although the authors feel the findings also have implications for therapists and policymakers. Dr. Mandara is an assistant professor of human development and social policy at the Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy. His research examines the nature and effects of socialization and father’s involvement and how they interact with gender, race, and socioeconomic status to affect youths’ academic and social development.
Mandara, J., Murray, C. B., & Joyner, T. N. (2005). The impact of fathers’ absence on African American adolescents’ gender role development. Sex Roles, 53, 207–220.
This article examines the role that fathers play in the development of traditional gender roles in 15-year-old African-American adolescents.  Based on a sample of 106 African-American adolescents and their families, results indicate that African-American boys raised in a household in which the father is present, in particular boys from lower income households, had higher perceptions of their masculinity than did boys from households in which the father is not present. Differences in how mothers and fathers socialize their children (i.e., that fathers are more likely to engage in rough-and-tumble play with their sons, push them to achieve, and make them work through pain) may account for the differences in perception of masculinity. The article is intended for social science researchers and social service providers. The first author is an assistant professor of human development and social policy at the Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy.  The authors’ primary research interests include the dynamics of the African-American family, the nature and effects of socialization and father’s involvement, and how they interact with gender, race, and socioeconomic status to affect youths’ academic and social development.
Marcotte, D., Lévesque, N., & Fortin, L. (2006). Variations of cognitive distortions and school performance in depressed and non-depressed high school adolescents: A two-year longitudinal study. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 30, 211–225.
This longitudinal study investigates the presence of depressive symptoms and cognitive distortions (in the areas of achievement, self-control, and dependency) among high school students and analyzes the relationship of these factors to academic performance. U.S.-based standardized measures of depression, dysfunction, and cognitive style were used to assess 644 adolescents ages 13 to 16. Overall, results show that girls reported more depressive symptoms than did boys, but their symptoms decreased over time, whereas boys’ symptoms remained stable. The authors found that both genders reported higher levels of cognitive distortions as they became depressed, but girls’ distortions decreased as their depression subsided. Boys who remained depressed throughout the 2-year study expressed higher levels of depressive cognitions than did the girls and the other groups of boys, and they maintained these negative cognitions throughout the entire study. Although the influence of depression on academic performance was difficult to assess, the authors found that academic performance was most impaired for those adolescents who remained depressed throughout the three testing points. Dr. Marcotte is a professor in the Psychology Department at University of Québec in Montréal.
May, D. C., Vartanian, L. R., & Virgo, K. (2002). The impact of parental attachment and supervision on fear of crime among adolescent males. Adolescence, 37, 267–287.
The authors investigated whether parental attachment and supervision affects adolescents’ fear of being victimized. For this study, 318 adolescent males in prison in a midwestern State were surveyed and reported on their demographics, perceived safety, perceptions of risk, and the effect of parental attachment and supervision. Although this sample is not truly representative of the adolescent male population, the authors note that this sample’s experiences might illustrate certain parental conditions that may contribute to fear of victimization. Of the sample population, males who reported feeling the most attached to their parents were also less fearful of criminal victimization and felt safer in their environment than males with weaker parental attachments. In addition, males who received closer supervision from their parents were more fearful of criminal victimization but had lower levels of perceived risk. Dr. May is an associate professor of correctional and juvenile justice and coordinator of the graduate degree program at Eastern Kentucky University. His areas of interest include alternative sentencing effects and gender and racial differences within the criminal justice system.
Meadows, S. O. (2007). Evidence of parallel pathways: Gender similarity in the impact of social support on adolescent depression and delinquency. Social Forces, 85, 1143–1167.
This study seeks to determine whether the mechanism that leads to depression in adolescent girls and delinquency in adolescent boys is the same. It also examines the role social support from parents, peers, and school plays in the development of depression and delinquency. The author analyzed data from 12,958 adolescents who participated in the Add Health study, a nationally representative school-based survey of health and health-related behaviors of adolescents in grades 7 through 12. The author found that the development of both depression and delinquency follows a similar path. Results also confirmed that positive support from parents, peers, and teachers provides protection against depression and delinquency. This article is intended for other social science researchers. The author is a postdoctoral research associate in the Office of Population Research and the Center for Research on Child Well-being at Princeton University. Her primary research interests include mental health, stress and social support, family and marriage, child well-being, crime and delinquency, and gender.
Moreno, C., Laje, G., Blanco, C., Jiang, H., Schmidt, A. B., & Olfson, M. (2007). National trends in the outpatient diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder in youth. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64, 1032–1039.
This epidemiological study examined the rate of office visits for bipolar disorder among youth in the United States between 1994–1995 and 2002–2003 and compared this to the rate of office visits for bipolar disorder among adults during the same time periods. Data were drawn from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, which collects information from office-based physicians who provide direct care. The number of office visits by youth with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder increased by 40 times over the study period (i.e., from 25 in 1994–1995 to 1,003 in 2002–2003) whereas the number of office visits by adults with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder increased by only 2 times. Males made up the majority of office visits for bipolar disorder among youth, whereas females accounted for most office visits for bipolar disorder among adults. The vast majority of youth and adults received medication (i.e., mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants) during office visits. Dr. Moreno is affiliated with the New York State Psychiatric Institute, the Department of Psychiatry in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, and the Hospital General Gregorio Marañón in Madrid, Spain.
Nock, M. K., Kazdin, A. E., Hiripi, E., & Kessler, R. C. (2006). Prevalence, subtypes, and correlates of DSM-IV conduct disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Psychological Medicine, 36, 699–710.
This epidemiological study examined the prevalence, subtypes, and patterns of comorbidity (i.e., appearance of two or more illnesses) of conduct disorder using data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Participants were a nationally representative sample of 3,199 individuals ages 18 to 44 who provided retrospective accounts of age of onset of psychiatric disorders. The authors found that lifetime prevalence of conduct disorder was 10 percent. However, up to 12 percent of boys will develop conduct disorder in their lifetimes, with a median age of onset of 12 years. Results revealed five subtypes of conduct disorder of increasing severity: Rule Violations (e.g., staying out late, skipping school), Deceit/Theft, Aggressive (i.e., aggression toward people or animals), Severe Covert (i.e., more severe behaviors, including property damage and breaking into cars or buildings), and Pervasive. A diagnosis of conduct disorder was associated with an elevated risk for other mental health disorders (i.e., mood, anxiety, substance use, and impulse control disorders). Conduct disorder typically precedes mood and substance use disorders and follows impulse control and anxiety disorders. Dr. Nock is an associate professor of psychology at Harvard University. His research interests focus on the cause, assessment, and treatment of self-injurious and aggressive behaviors.
Pardini, D., Obradovic, J., & Loeber, R. (2006). Interpersonal callousness, hyperactivity/impulsivity, inattention, and conduct problems as precursors to delinquency persistence in boys: A comparison of three grade-based cohorts. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35, 46–59.
Boys who are inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive and who have conduct problems may be at risk for exhibiting persistent delinquent behavior. Boys who have few friends may also be at risk for delinquent behavior. However, few studies have established the specific issues surrounding these behaviors or examined how they may predict future delinquent behavior as boys grow older. Using data from the Pittsburgh Youth Study, the authors explored these issues with approximately 500 boys in 1st grade, 4th grade, and 7th grades. Data were collected from parents, teachers, and students. Findings from this study indicate that hyperactivity, impulsiveness, conduct disorder, and inattentiveness were related from childhood to adolescence. However, conduct problems significantly predicted ongoing delinquency in first-grade students, whereas conduct problems and inattentiveness predicted ongoing delinquency in the fourth-grade students. Interpersonal problems with classmates predicted ongoing delinquency in seventh-grade students. The results suggest that the influence of specific predictors of delinquent behavior may change from childhood to adolescence. Dr. Pardini is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Pollack, W. S. (2006). The “war” for boys: Hearing “real boys’” voices, healing their pain. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 37, 190–195.
This article examines whether boys are facing a psychological crisis by analyzing quantitative and qualitative data on more than 200 primarily middle-class, White boys ages 12 through 18 from the Listening to Boys’ Voices study. Results show that boys felt ashamed of painful feelings surrounding early separation from their parents and that much of the pain they feel often goes unnoticed, because boys tend to mask their pain and vulnerability. Also, boys were often confused about appropriate levels and changing definitions of masculinity and expressed ambivalence about becoming men. Specifically, as boys become older, they feel social pressures to act tough and “cool,” not show emotions, and fulfill traditional masculine roles. Results also demonstrate that boys become anxious and concerned about what the future holds for them. Dr. Pollack is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Centers for Men and Young Men at McLean Hospital. His research focuses on the new psychology of men and boys.
Prevatt, F. F. (2003). The contribution of parenting practices in a risk and resiliency model of children’s adjustment. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 21, 469–480.
In this study, the author examined risk and resiliency among children and the relation of parenting practices to risk and protective factors. Participants were 80 children between the ages of 6 and 12 and their mothers. A slight majority (53 percent) of the children were girls. Most of the mothers were White (60 percent) and married (82 percent). Family risk factors that were examined included family stress and conflict, presence of psychological symptoms among parents, and low socioeconomic status. Family protective factors included family cohesion and social support and moral-religious orientation. For this study, positive parenting included parental involvement, whereas negative parenting included inconsistent discipline and corporal punishment. Results of this study show that the presence of family risk factors and poor parenting were strong predictors of child externalizing behaviors (e.g., aggression, conduct problems), whereas family protective factors and positive parenting were predictors of child adaptive behaviors (e.g., social skills, leadership). These results suggest that parenting is best viewed as a continuum of behaviors rather than a one-dimensional concept. Dr. Prevatt is a professor of psychology at Florida State University. Her research interests include educational psychology and empowerment of parents of high-risk, minority children.
Pruitt, I. T. P. (2007). Family treatment approaches for depression in adolescent males. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 35, 6981.
This article describes three approaches in family therapy that may benefit depressed adolescent males and their families. First, Structural Family Therapy aims to reduce parental criticism, decrease adolescents’ isolation, create more family cohesion, and build more support for parents. Second, Interpersonal Family Therapy facilitates the interaction between the adolescents’ symptoms and family functioning.  The family is educated about irrational beliefs associated with depression and taught to help the adolescent change his beliefs.  In order to improve deficits in interpersonal functioning, parents are encouraged to provide peer and family activities for the adolescent and themselves. Finally, Attachment-Based Family Therapy was developed to help depressed adolescents and their parents repair the attachment bond by encouraging adolescents to express negative feelings associated with failed attachment. When parents listen to and acknowledge the experiences, family tension is reduced and trust is rebuilt.  It is suggested that these therapies may be especially successful for depressed adolescent males because they rely on reason and action on the part of the adolescent.  Dr. Pruitt is affiliated with the Department of Human Development at Virginia Tech. 
Raine, A., Dodge, K., Loeber, R., Gatzke-Kopp, L., Lynam, D., Reynolds, C., et al. (2006). The reactive-proactive aggression questionnaire: Differential correlates of reactive and proactive aggression in adolescent boys. Aggressive Behavior, 32, 159–171.
In this study, the authors examine the importance of differentiating between proactive aggression (lashing out without provocation) and reactive aggression (responding aggressively to perceived affronts). The authors used the Reactive-Proactive Aggression Questionnaire that they developed to measure the evolution of aggression in young boys and older adolescents. They administered the questionnaire to 503 male students, age 16, who were originally assessed for psychosocial and behavioral aggression at age 7. Results show that both forms of aggression were associated with excessive fighting at age 7. Also, adolescents who were proactively aggressive were more likely to be seriously violent and to come from a poor social background. On the other hand, adolescents who were reactively aggressive were more likely to be impulsive, to be anxious, and to distort reality. The authors emphasize the importance of differentiating between these forms of aggression to get a better understanding of the causes of aggression among adolescents. Dr. Raine is a professor of psychology at the University of Southern California. His research has focused on the neurobiological and biosocial bases of antisocial and violent behavior in children and adults.
Roberts, R. E., Roberts, C. R., & Chen, Y. R. (1997). Ethnocultural differences in prevalence of adolescent depression. American Journal of Community Psychology, 25, 95–110.
In this study, researchers collected data from an ethnically diverse sample of 5,423 middle school students in grades 6 through 8. Data were analyzed for ethnic differences in major depression among these youth. Among the nine ethnic groups identified in the sample, results demonstrate that students of Chinese descent had the lowest levels of depression, whereas those of Mexican descent had the highest levels. Both African- and Mexican-American youth had significantly higher rates of depression than other groups, but only the Mexican American youth had significantly higher rates of depression leading to dysfunction. The results found Mexican-American youth to be at elevated risk for both depression without and depression with dysfunction, even when adjusting for the effects of age, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES). Females had higher rates of depression with and without dysfunction, as did youth who reported that their SES was somewhat or much worse than their peers. These findings add to growing evidence that Mexican-American youth are at increased risk of depression and that community intervention efforts should specifically target this high-risk group. Dr. Roberts is a professor of behavioral science at the University of Texas School of Public Health. His research focuses on minority health.
Shear, K., Jin, R., Ruscio, A. M., Walters, E. E., & Kessler, R. C. (2006). Prevalence and correlates of estimated DSM-IV child and adult separation anxiety disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163, 1074–1083.
This epidemiological study examined the prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of childhood and adult separation anxiety disorder using data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. The data were from a nationally representative sample of 5,692 individuals ages 18 and older; these individuals provided retrospective accounts of age of onset of separation anxiety disorder and other psychiatric disorders. Results of this study show that the prevalence of separation anxiety disorder in children was about 4 percent and the typical age of onset for children was in early or middle childhood. Separation anxiety disorder was more common in females than males. Comorbid disorders including other anxiety disorders and mood disorders were very common among individuals with separation anxiety disorder. Approximately 22 percent of individuals with childhood separation anxiety disorder received mental health treatment before the age of 18, though this disorder was not the focus of treatment in 75 percent of these cases. Dr. Shear is a Professor of Psychiatry in Social Work at the Columbia University School of Social Work. Her research interests include psychotherapy research, anxiety disorders, adult separation anxiety disorder, and bereavement and grief.
Stouthamer-Loeber, M., & Loeber, R. (2002). Lost opportunities for intervention: Undetected markers for the development of serious juvenile delinquency. Criminal Behavior and Mental Health, 12, 69–82.
This study explores the age at which boys begin to develop serious persistent juvenile delinquency. The authors investigate the proportion of delinquent boys who meet the criteria for a disruptive behavior disorder diagnosis and the proportion of delinquent boys receiving help. The analyses included eight waves of data from the Pittsburgh Youth Study, along with juvenile court records, diagnostic information, and information about help for mental health problems. Findings indicate that almost half the boys who eventually become persistent serious offenders have already developed serious delinquent behavior by age 12. Two-thirds of the boys in juvenile court had had behavior problems for at least 5 years, and one-third had been diagnosed as having a disruptive behavior disorder by age 13. However, fewer than half of the persistent serious delinquents had received any help from either mental health professionals or personnel in schools. The authors conclude that early behavior problems and a diagnosis of disruptive behavior disorder warrant early intervention. Dr. Stouthamer-Loeber works with the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research includes the progression of antisocial and delinquent behaviors in males, factors associated with the onset of conduct disorders, and factors involved in parents’ seeking help for their children’s behavior problems.
Taylor, R. D., Seaton, E., & Rodriguez, A. U. (2002). Psychological adjustment of urban, inner-city ethnic minority adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 31, 280–287.
In this article, the authors report that urban, inner-city ethnic minority adolescents and their families face many conditions and experiences that place their well-being at risk. The condition of economic disadvantage places families at great risk and is both directly associated with adolescents’ maladjustment and also affects young people through the negative impact on parents’ well-being. Living in high crime neighborhoods that lack resources is linked to poor adjustment in both parents and adolescents. According to the authors, some of the negative effects of economic distress are made better by adolescents’ personal attributes and social support offered to their families from extended relatives and others. Dr. Taylor is a professor of psychology at Temple University. His research focuses on the social and emotional development of ethnic minority children and adolescents.
Twenge, J. M., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2002). Age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, and birth cohort differences on the Children’s Depression Inventory: A meta-analysis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 111, 578–588.
This study, using scores from the Children’s Depression Inventory, reports data from a meta-analysis of 310 studies of depressive symptoms in children and adolescents. The authors examine age, gender, birth cohort, race, and class differences in depressive symptoms in 61,424 children ages 8 to 16. They found that girls’ depression scores stayed steady from ages 8 to 11 and then increased between ages 12 and 16. Boys’ depression scores were stable from ages 8 to 16, except for a high depression score at age 12. Girls’ scores were slightly lower than boys’ during childhood, but girls scored higher beginning at age 13. The authors found no significant differences in depression related to socioeconomic status and no significant differences between White and Black children. However, Hispanic children reported significantly more depressive symptoms than both White and Black children. Dr. Twenge is a professor of psychology at San Diego State University. Her research focuses on social rejection, birth cohort differences, and meta-analyses.
Wassef, A., Mason, G., Collins, M. L., O’Boyle, M., & Ingham, D. (1996). In search of effective programs to address students’ emotional distress and behavioral problems–Part III: Student assessment of school-based support groups. Adolescence, 31, 1–16.
In this article, the authors present findings from students’ assessment of a school-based support group for emotional and behavioral problems. Students ages 14 to 19, who were experiencing emotional distress or behavioral problems, volunteered to participate in the groups. Students met in classroom settings for 50 minutes each week during the school year. Discussion sessions were facilitated by two adult volunteers who were not mental health workers but who had completed training on group facilitation. Students talked about school- and home-related issues and ways to cope with stressful situations. At the end of the 3-year implementation period, data were collected from 131 participants, assessing the effects of the discussion groups on their schoolwork, relationships with others, and how they felt about themselves. Students reported developing new ways to deal with problems, increased self-esteem, and an increased ability to support friends. The authors suggest these findings can be used by educators to implement programs for school-based, peer support groups. Dr. Wassef is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
Zuvekas, S. H., Vitiello, B., & Norquist, G. S. (2006). Recent trends in stimulant medication use among U.S. children. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163, 579–585.
This epidemiological study examined the rates of use of stimulant medication to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children from 1997 to 2002. Data were drawn from the larger Medical Expenditure Panel Survey; participants were a nationally representative sample of children younger than age 19. Although the authors found a significant increase in the use of stimulant medication among children in the 10 years before the study (i.e., between 1987 and 1997), use remained stable at about 3 percent during the period under study (i.e., 1997 to 2002). In the present study, higher rates of use of stimulant medication were found among 6- to 12-year-olds, males, and White children. There was an increase in use among females and Black children between 1997 and 2002; however, this trend did not reach statistical significance. Children with either public or private insurance had higher rates of use of stimulant medications than uninsured children. Rates of use of stimulant medication were also higher among children with functional impairments (e.g., interpersonal problems, difficulties in school) than those without. Dr. Zuvekas is an economist at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. His research interests include the economics of mental health and substance abuse.

Mental Health — Interventions/Programs

Fishbein, D. H., Hyde, C., Eldreth, D., Paschall, M. J., Hubal, R., Das, A., et al. (2006). Neurocognitive skills moderate urban male adolescents’ responses to preventive intervention materials. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 82, 47–60.
This study examines whether adolescent boys with certain neurocognitive and emotional deficits are less likely to respond to preventive intervention materials. Approximately half the 120 ninth-grade males who participated in the study had a current or lifetime diagnosis of conduct disorder, whereas the other half had no diagnosis of conduct disorder or other reported problem behaviors. The boys were assessed for executive cognitive function (ECF), emotional perception, and intelligence. Half the group was then exposed to a model preventive intervention, Positive Adolescent Choices Training (PACT). Results showed that adolescents who did not respond favorably to the intervention had deficits in decisionmaking ability, sensitivity to consequence, ability to delay gratification, impulsivity, and recognition of emotion in others. These findings indicate that boys with lower ECF abilities and emotional perception are less likely to change their behavior in response to a preventive intervention than adolescents with higher levels of function. Dr. Fishbein is senior fellow in Behavioral Neuroscience and directs the Transdisciplinary Behavioral Science program at RTI International.
Reid, J. B., Eddy, J. M., Fetrow, R. A., & Stoolmiller, M. (1999). Description and immediate impacts of a preventive intervention for conduct problems. American Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 483–517.
This article describes the theoretical background, design, and implementation of a prevention intervention that was specifically aimed at reducing risk factors for conduct disorders among a random sample of first- and fifth-grade boys and girls. Students attended public schools in neighborhoods with relatively high rates of juvenile delinquency. An assessment of children’s, parents’, and school teachers’ satisfaction levels with the intervention was conducted. Results indicate that the intervention had immediate and significant effects on reducing physical aggression among students on the playground. The authors regarded this finding significant because children who act aggressively toward their peers are at higher risk for rejection and subsequent association with antisocial peers. Consistent with the literature, this study suggests that helping parents with issues, such as depression, daily stress, substance use, and social isolation, would contribute significantly to the reduction of children’s conduct disorders. Dr. Reid is a senior scientist and cofounder of the Oregon Social Learning Center. His work focuses on the assessment and treatment of abusive families and conduct disorders.

[ Go to Contents ]

Substance Abuse

Bachman, J. G., Johnston, L. D. & O’Malley, P. M. (1990). Explaining the recent decline in cocaine use among young adults: Further evidence that perceived risks and disapproval lead to reduced drug use. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 31, 173-184.
This study examined the link between changed attitudes about cocaine and the decline in its use among adolescents. Data were obtained from the “Monitoring the Future” project, an ongoing study of a representative sample of high school seniors from a state located in the Midwest.  A questionnaire was administered to 3,000 seniors in 13 graduating classes from 1976 through 1988. Questions assessed cocaine use during the previous 12 months, perceived risk of cocaine use, and disapproval of cocaine use. Cocaine use rose from 1976 through 1980 and declined from 1986 through 1988. Among the high school seniors at greatest risk for cocaine use were males, students with poor grades, and those with high levels of truancy.  Analytic models were used to determine that the decline in cocaine use was accompanied by increases in perceived risk and disapproval of use, but not by a decline in perceived availability. The findings indicate they may be useful for drug abuse prevention efforts by providing information about risks of drug use that may lower the percentage of drug abusers.  Dr. Bachman is a Research Affiliate at the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan.  His current research focuses on drug use and attitudes about drugs and the interface between substance abuse and academic achievement.
Bachman, J. G., Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M. & Humphrey, R. H. (1988). Explaining the recent decline in marijuana use: Differentiating the effects of perceived risks, disapproval, and general lifestyle factors. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 29, 92-112.
This study investigated the link between changed attitudes about marijuana and the decline in its use among adolescents. Data were obtained from the “Monitoring the Future” project, an ongoing study with a representative sample of high school seniors from a state located in the Midwest.  A questionnaire was administered to 3,000 seniors in 11 graduating classes from 1976 through 1986. Questions assessed marijuana use during the previous 12 months, perceived risk of marijuana use, and disapproval of marijuana use. Researchers also assessed individual characteristics such as gender, truancy level, and religious commitment.  Results suggest that changes in information about marijuana led to an overall shift in perceptions of risk, which has in turn led to trends in disapproval.  Disapproval led to a decrease in actual marijuana use. Findings indicate that measures about perceived risk or disapproval of cocaine use was a more powerful predictor than individual characteristics for the decline in cocaine use. Dr. Bachman is a Research Affiliate at the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan.  His current research focuses on drug use and attitudes about drugs and the interface between substance abuse and academic achievement.
Bartkowski, J. P., & Xu, X. (2007). Religiosity and teen drug use reconsidered: A social capital perspective. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 32 (Suppl 6), S182–S194.
Using cross-sectional data from the 1996 Monitoring the Future survey, the authors examined levels of teen drug use (alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs) for three different components of faith-based social networks—exposure to and internalization of religious norms, integration within religious networks, and trust in religious phenomena. Findings indicated that students who regularly attended church were less likely to use drugs. In addition, the authors found that students participating in secular afterschool programs (sports, theater, hobby clubs, etc.) were also unlikely to use drugs. These findings about the protective effects of both faith-based and secular social networks on preventing drug use among American teens are consistent with previous research (Smith, 2003; Stark, 1996). Dr. Bartkowski is a professor of sociology at Mississippi State University and has written extensively about family issues, gender, and religion.
Catalano, R. F., Haggerty, K. P., Oesterle, S., Fleming, C. B., & Hawkins, J. D. (2004). The importance of bonding to school for healthy development: Findings from the Social Development Research Group. Journal of School Health, 74, 252–261.
Summarizing two longitudinal studies (the Seattle Social Development Project and Raising Healthy Children), these authors evaluated the importance of school connectedness on a variety of problem and positive behaviors among children and adolescents. The study also discussed the theoretical importance of school connectedness and the influence of selected interventions in improving school connectedness and socialization. These studies provide evidence that school bonding is important for the healthy development of young people; strong school bonding was associated with less tobacco, alcohol, and drug use, as well as lower rates of criminal involvement, gang memberships, and dropping out of school. The positive effects of school bonding extended to high-risk groups in particular, including aggressive boys. The findings are consistent with prior research (Resnick et al., 1997; Werner, 1992) and suggest that focusing on how children are taught and teaching children social and emotional competence are critical to achieving academic success. Dr. Catalano is a professor of social work at the University of Washington, Seattle. His professional interests include promoting positive youth development and preventing problem behaviors.
Cho, H., Hallfors, D. D., & Iritani, B. J. (2007). Early initiation of substance use and subsequent risk factors related to suicide among urban high school students. Addictive Behaviors, 32, 1628–1639.
This study investigates the association between the age at which young people began to use drugs and alcohol and their risk factors related to suicide. Early onset of substance use has been considered to be an important risk factor for subsequent problem behaviors and psychiatric disorders (DuRant, Smith, Kreiter, & Krowchuk, 1999). Data were collected from 1,252 adolescents in grades 9 through 11 in 9 high schools in 2 large urban school districts. Students completed surveys that asked about their substance use, depressive symptoms, suicide ideation, suicidal ideation specifically during alcohol and/or drug use, belief in suicide as a personal option, and suicide attempt. Results show that the earlier onset of hard drug use among boys was associated with all five suicide risk factors. Among girls, earlier onset of regular cigarette smoking, drinking, and hard drug use was associated with some of the suicide risk factors. Findings suggest the importance of screening for substance use in early adolescence and indicate that both research and intervention efforts should incorporate gender differences.  Dr. Cho is a research scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.
Crum, R. M., Storr, C. L., & Anthony, J. C. (2005). Are educational aspirations associated with the risk of alcohol use and alcohol use-related problems among adolescents? Substance Use and Misuse, 40, 151–169.
This longitudinal study examined the relation between students’ educational aspirations and alcohol use and use-related problems. Interview data were collected from 1,183 middle school students from 19 schools in an urban school district. Students were asked whether they had ever drunk alcohol and their age at first use. They were also asked about alcohol use-related problems, including whether they had been scolded for alcohol use, had gotten in trouble at school or home, or had health problems related to alcohol use. Students were also asked how far they thought they would progress in school. In initial interviews, 50 percent of the sample reported using alcohol; a year later, 59 percent reported alcohol use. Contrary to the researchers’ expectations, students with lower educational aspirations were not more likely to increase alcohol use or experience more alcohol-related problems in the year between interviews. The authors suggested that a year may not have been an adequate interval to study the relationship between educational aspirations and alcohol use. Dr. Crum is an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Duncan, S. C., Duncan, T. E., Strycker, L. A., & Chaumeton, N. R. (2002). Relations between youth antisocial and prosocial activities. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 25, 425–438.
This study explores the relationship between prosocial and antisocial behaviors in youth. In this study, the authors surveyed 356 mostly White 10-, 12-, and 14-year-olds (179 boys and 177 girls) to determine whether adolescents’ prosocial and antisocial activities affected their behavior in other areas. Prosocial activities included sports, organized activities, volunteering, and religious activities. Antisocial activities included substance abuse, stealing, and lying. Results show that students engaged in prosocial activities, especially sports, were less likely to use drugs or participate in delinquent behaviors and were more likely to participate in other prosocial activities. These students were also more likely to be living in two-parent households that had higher incomes. Youth who were involved in substance abuse were more likely to engage in other delinquent behaviors. The intended audience for this paper includes other social science researchers as well as health and youth policymakers. Dr. Duncan, a scientist at the Oregon Research Institute, is a member of the Prevention and Health Behavior Group at the Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health. 
Eckhardt, L., Woodruff, S. I., & Elder, J. P. (1997). Relative effectiveness of continued, lapsed, and delayed smoking prevention intervention in senior high school students. American Journal of Health Promotion, 11, 418–421.
This article describes a study to test the relative effectiveness of continued, lapsed, and delayed smoking prevention programs with 1,545 mostly White senior high school students. The original intervention was conducted during seventh through ninth grades, with significantly fewer intervention students reporting smoking than control students. The intervention was reintroduced in the 11th grade to half the intervention students (continued intervention), was withdrawn from the other half (lapsed intervention), and was initiated with half the control group students (delayed intervention). Results show that continued intervention students reported significantly less smoking than continued control students and lapsed intervention students. In addition, the delayed intervention group exhibited smoking rates lower than the lapsed intervention and continued control groups. These findings underscore the importance of continuing smoking prevention activities, as well as initiating these activities in the senior high school years. Dr. Eckhardt worked at the School of Public Health at San Diego State University at the time this article was published.
Faden, V. B., & Goldman, M. (2004/2005). Environmental and contextual considerations. Alcohol Research & Health, 28, 155–162.
This article describes some of the environmental influences that may increase the risk of underage drinking, including parenting styles and an adolescent’s choice of peer groups. According to the authors, community factors such as alcohol advertising, the price of alcohol, and the extent to which underage drinking laws are enforced also play a role. However, the degree to which alcohol use is influenced by environmental factors is hard to establish. One finding shows that boys are more inclined to remember beer ads than girls, and the ads make them want to drink more. Another finding shows that price increases can affect liquor sales to adolescents, but boys are less influenced by such practices. Results show that the environmental strategy of increasing the drinking age to 21 years has been the most successful intervention in reducing drinking and alcohol-related crashes among people younger than age 21. Dr. Faden is the deputy director of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Faden, V. B., & Goldman, M. (2004/2005). Interventions for alcohol use and alcohol use disorders in youth. Alcohol Research & Health, 28, 163–174.
This article discusses the diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorders among adolescents. The study also reviews both environmental- and individual-level approaches to underage drinking prevention, including brief and complex treatment interventions, school- and family-based programs, and macro environmental and multicomponent comprehensive interventions. Although focusing on adolescents in general, the review mentions that young males have more legal problems and put themselves in more danger as a result of alcohol use. Young males who abuse alcohol are also more likely to use nicotine and illicit drugs. The findings indicated that 1.4 million teens abused or were dependent on alcohol in 2002, but only 227,000 had received treatment. Because adolescents are different from adults in their reaction to alcohol intervention and treatment, the authors stress the need for more options tailored specifically to teens. Dr. Faden is the deputy director of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Fishbein, D. H., Herman-Stahl, M., Eldreth, D., Paschall, M. J., Hyde, C., Hubal, R., et al. (2006). Mediators of the stress–substance-use relationship in urban male adolescents. Prevention Science, 7, 113–126.
The study examined 125 low-income, urban adolescent boys to identify neurocognitive and social competency mechanisms that may affect the relationship between stress and drug use. Neurocognitive mechanisms included impulsivity, delay of gratification, emotional perception, and risky decisionmaking. The findings show that boys with risky decisionmaking and less social competence may be more likely to engage in delinquent behavior. Not all of these deficits lead to drug use, however, implying that they affect risk behaviors differently. Results suggest that higher levels of social competence can help mitigate the effect of stress on marijuana, alcohol, and multidrug use. This finding supports existing research that highlights the importance of social competence in childhood resilience. Dr. Fishbein is senior fellow in Behavioral Neuroscience and directs the Transdisciplinary Behavioral Science program at RTI International.
Flay, B. R. (2007). The long-term promise of effective school-based smoking prevention programs. In R. J. Bonnie, K. Stratton, & R. B. Wallace. (Eds.) Ending the tobacco problem:  A blueprint for the nation (pp. 449–477). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
This review examines the literature regarding the potential long-term effects (i.e., by the age of 25) of nationwide adoption of school-based prevention programs. Specifically, 7 school-based or school-plus-community-based programs that included 15 or more sessions and that demonstrated short-term and medium-term (i.e., high school age) effectiveness were reviewed. In addition, five school-based or school-plus-community-based programs with promising medium- and long-term effectiveness were also reviewed. Based on this review, the author provides several suggestions including the following: implement evidence-based smoking prevention programs in all grades at all middle and high schools; governments, communities, and/or schools should fund these evidence-based programs as well as complementary community or mass media programs; and fidelity to and sustainability of these prevention programs should be considered a top priority. Dr. Flay is a professor in the Department of Public Health at Oregon State University. His research interests include health promotion and disease prevention, including the use of mass media for health promotion and disease prevention. Other areas of interest include smoking and drug abuse prevention and positive youth development.
Gehle, K., Pharagood-Wade, F., Johnson, D., & Rosales-Guevara, L. (2001). Case studies in environmental medicine (CSEM): Toluene toxicity. Retrieved February 6, 2008, from http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/toluene/index.html
Intended as a fact sheet for primary care physicians and pediatricians, these case studies address toluene, the solvent most commonly abused by adolescents. The monograph profiles those at risk and details the physiological effects of solvent abuse, clinical evaluation of solvent abuse, and treatment options. The study reports that typical inhalant abusers are 10- to 15-year-old boys who might also, or later, abuse alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. Chronic, intentional exposure to the solvent, which is usually inhaled through glue, paint, or other materials, can lead to serious health problems and death. Dr. Gehle works with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., & Miller, J. Y. (1992). Risk and protective factors for alcohol and other drug problems in adolescence and early adulthood: Implications for substance abuse prevention. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 64–105.
In this article, the authors review risk and protective factors for adolescent alcohol and drug use and discuss prevention strategies for high-risk youth. The authors conclude that most risk factors remain stable over time and the more risk factors that are present in adolescents’ lives, the greater the chance that they will abuse drugs. The authors also found that protective factors can buffer the effects of exposure to risk. Prevention approaches that enhance protective factors against drug abuse in populations at high risk include early childhood and family support programs, social competence skills training, academic achievement promotion, organizational changes in schools, youth involvement in alternative activities, and comprehensive risk-focused programs. Findings from later studies by Kellermann and colleagues (Kellermann, Fuqua-Whitley, Rivara, & Mercy, 1998; see below) and Larson and colleagues (Larson, Dworkin, & Gillman, 2001; see above) support the results of this study. Dr. Hawkins is a professor and the founding director of the Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle. His primary area of interest is translating research into effective practice and policy to improve adolescent health and development.
Johnson, M. K. (2004). Further evidence on adolescent employment and substance use: Differences by race and ethnicity. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 45, 187–197.
Previous research studies have found that adolescents who spend more time in paid work report higher levels of substance abuse; this article examines whether this is also evident across racial and ethnic groups. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the study found that the effect of work intensity on substance use was mostly limited to White adolescents. This study does not empirically address the reasons for the difference across racial and ethnic groups. However, the author suggests that minority adolescents living in economically depressed areas with fewer employers and high unemployment rates are less likely to be employed, so minority teens who are able to find employment may have characteristics that distinguish them from their peers. In addition, adolescents who are working to save money for schooling or to contribute to their families may be less likely to engage in substance use than their peers who are using their earnings primarily for leisure. The author cautions that restricting the number of hours per week teens can work could have unintended adverse consequences for some minority groups. Dr. Johnson is assistant professor of Sociology at Washington State University. Her research focuses on education and work-related processes during adolescence and the transition to adulthood.
Kilpatrick, D. G., Ruggiero, K, J., Acierno, R., Saunders, B. E., Resnick, H. S., & Best, C. L. (2003). Violence and risk of PTSD, major depression, substance abuse/dependence, and comorbidity: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 692–700.
The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive episode, and substance abuse/dependence would increase following exposure to interpersonal violence. Data were drawn from a national household probability sample of over 4,000 adolescents. The sample for the present study included 2,002 boys and 1,904 girls between the ages of 12 and 17; data were weighted so that the sample was representative of U.S. Census data. About two times the proportion of girls than boys met the criteria for PTSD and major depressive episode, while the proportion of girls and boys with substance abuse/dependence was similar. About 75 percent of adolescents with PTSD had a comorbid disorder versus 40 percent of those with a major depressive episode or substance abuse/dependence. Findings suggest that exposure to interpersonal violence (e.g., physical assault, witnessed violence, sexual assault) was linked to increased risk of PTSD, major depressive episode, and substance abuse/dependence. Dr. Kilpatrick is the Director of the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Medical University of South Carolina. His research interests include measuring the scope and mental health impact of potentially traumatic events.
Kurtzman, T. L., Otsuka, K. N., & Wahl, R. A. (2001). Inhalant abuse by adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 28, 170–180.
This review article discusses the prevalence of inhalant abuse in the United States among students ages 12 to 17. The authors provide a summary of the psychosocial problems and risk behaviors associated with inhalant abuse, prevention strategies, and medical management among adolescents. The physical effects of inhalant abuse on human organ systems and the clinical presentation of inhalant abuse are also described. The study indicates that usage is higher among younger students than older students and higher among boys than among girls. Boys are also more likely to continue using until medical intervention is needed. The authors find inhalant abuse is associated with lower socioeconomic status, low self-esteem, depression, and delinquency. The findings in this article are consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveys that find boys are more likely than girls to abuse inhalants. Dr. Kurtzman is an assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Her research interests include childhood obesity and adolescent medicine.
Labre, M. P. (2002). Adolescent boys and the muscular male body ideal. Journal of Adolescent Health, 30, 233–242.
In this article, the author examines the possible association between the muscular male body ideal as portrayed in the media and the adolescent male’s involvement in harmful weight-control behaviors. The findings suggest that males appear to perceive an increased pressure to achieve a muscular ideal. This pressure leads some boys to use steroids and dietary supplements and others to engage in eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. The article found that male gender was associated with anabolic steroid abuse and that such abuse among adolescent males is on the rise. The findings were consistent with other recent surveys of middle school and high school students and results from the Monitoring the Future study. The author suggests further study on the muscular male ideal in the media, as well as on body dissatisfaction and harmful weight-control behaviors among adolescent males. Ms. Labre is a doctoral candidate at the University of Florida. Her research centers on issues related to body image.
Mandara, J., Murray, C. B., & Bangi, A. K. (2003). Predictors of African American adolescent sexual activity: An ecological framework. Journal of Black Psychology, 29, 337–356.
This article assessed the personal, familial, and extra-familial risk factors associated with African-American adolescent sexual activity among a sample of 101 African-American youth and their parents. It was found that being older, being male, having lower levels of parental monitoring, and having friends who use drugs were associated with higher odds of being sexually active. Consistent with prior research (Perkins, Luster, Villarruel, & Small, 1998; Raffaelli, Bogenschneider, & Flood, 1998), the findings in this study indicate that males and older adolescents are much more likely to have had sex compared with females and younger adolescents because of less parental monitoring. It was also found that personal substance use, particularly alcohol use, was a strong predictor of sexual activity. The authors encourage communities and families to take a more active role in their children’s lives, and they emphasize the importance of monitoring adolescents of both genders. Dr. Mandara is an assistant professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. His primary research interests include examining the effect of parenting, fathers, and other home factors on children’s and adolescents’ academic and social development.
Marshall, L., Schooley, M., Ryan, H., Cox, P., Easton, A., Healton, C., et al. (2006). Youth tobacco surveillance–United States, 2001–2002. MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 55 (SS03), 1–56.
This study surveyed the tobacco use of more than 26,000 middle and high school students across the United States. The results, broken down by gender, race, and age, indicated that in both middle and high school, male students were significantly more likely than female students to have ever smoked cigarettes or cigars or used smokeless tobacco. Male students were also significantly more likely to have initiated tobacco use before age 11. When current cigarette smokers younger than 18 were asked how they usually acquired cigarettes, males were more likely than females to either steal or buy their own cigarettes, rather than having someone else purchase them. Male students were also more likely to think smokers have more friends. This report reviews successful tobacco intervention programs around the country and recommends that States establish comprehensive tobacco-control programs to reduce disease, disability, and death related to tobacco use. The corresponding author of this report, Ms. Marshall, is associated with the Office on Smoking and Health of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
McCabe, S. E., Boyd, C. J., & Young, A. (2007). Medical and nonmedical use of prescription drugs among secondary school students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 40, 76–83.
This study assesses the prevalence of the medical and nonmedical use of four categories of prescription drugs (i.e., opioid, stimulant, sleeping, and sedative/anxiety medication) in a racially diverse sample of more than 1,000 public school students in grades 7 through 12. More than 17 percent of students reported both medical and nonmedical use of prescription medication, and 3.3 percent reported using medication solely for nonmedical reasons. Pain medication had the highest prevalence of nonmedical use. There were no significant racial differences in the results; boys were more likely to report medical use of stimulants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The authors recommend more education for parents, patients, and school administrators about the risks of nonmedical use of prescription medications. Modified author abstract. Dr. McCabe is an associate professor at the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center. His primary research interests include environmental prevention strategies to reduce collegiate alcohol abuse, gender and racial differences in substance abuse, and epidemiology of prescription drug abuse.
McClelland, G. M., Teplin, L. A., & Abram, K. M. (2004). Detection and prevalence of substance use among juvenile detainees. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, 1–16.
In this bulletin, the authors compare self-reported drug use to the results of urinalysis tests for the presence of drugs in a sample of 1,829 juvenile offenders at a juvenile detention center in Cook County, Illinois. Results indicate that the adolescents accurately reported their use of marijuana but not cocaine and other drugs. The authors believe that adolescents underreport the use of these drugs because the consequences of their use are more severe. Because urinalysis is more accurate for detecting drug use, the authors recommend using a combination of both self-report and testing. Boys, across all racial groups, accurately self-reported their marijuana use, although accuracy improved with age. The authors point out that marijuana use usually leads to more serious drug abuse, and 94 percent of the youth surveyed had used drugs in their lifetimes. The authors, therefore, stress the need for intervention and treatment programs in juvenile detention centers. The findings from the study are supported by those of other studies (Dembo et al., 1999; Mieczkowski, Newel, & Wraight, 1998). Dr. McClelland is a senior analyst in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.
Ringel, J. S., Ellickson, P. L., & Collins, R. L. (2007). High school drug use predicts job-related outcomes at age 29. Addictive Behaviors, 32, 576–589.
This article examines the relationship of high school drug use and subsequent job-related outcomes. The authors used data from a longitudinal study of students who participated in Project ALERT, a school-based drug prevention program. Overall, the results suggest that adolescent hard drug use is linked with poorer occupational and job quality outcomes as much as 10 years after high school. The results differed by gender; females who use hard drugs as adolescents tend to end up in lower skill, lower status jobs, whereas males are more likely to end up in jobs with fewer benefits (e.g., health insurance, retirement benefits, and paid vacation). The authors suggest that drug use may have an effect on an individual’s access to high-quality jobs because of limited educational attainment and/or job performance. In addition, they suggest that early drug use may continue into early adulthood, affecting current job performance, job access, and job quality. This article is intended for social science researchers. Dr. Ringel is an economist with the RAND Corporation. Her primary research interests include adolescent drug use, the economic costs of substance abuse, and drug prevention.
Robertson, E. B., David, S. L., & Rao, S. A. (2003). Preventing drug use among children and adolescents: A research-based guide for parents, educators, and community leaders, 2nd Edition. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse.
This book aims to help prevention practitioners address drug abuse among children and adolescents in communities across the United States. The guide provides an outline of risk and protective factors, community planning and implementation, and 16 prevention principles derived from effective drug abuse prevention research. In this book, boys were among the high-risk subgroups. It was found that aggressive behaviors in boys are the primary causes of poor peer relationships and that ineffective parenting can lead to poor family relationships. These poor relationships, in turn, can lead to social rejection, a negative school experience, and problem behaviors, including drug abuse. The authors emphasize that early intervention is the best way to prevent risky adolescent behavior. Dr. Robertson is chief of the Prevention Research Branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Ryan, L. G., Miller-Loessi, K., & Nieri, T. (2007). Relationships with adults as predictors of substance use, gang involvement, and threats to safety among disadvantaged urban high-school students. Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 1053–1071.
This study examines whether specific types of relationships with parents and school personnel protect teens from substance use, gang involvement, and other threats to physical safety. The participants included 342 ethnically diverse high school students in economically disadvantaged urban areas in the southwestern United States. Among factors the authors measured were generalized parental support, open communication between adolescents and adults (self-disclosure), parental monitoring, and relationships with teachers/adults at school. The findings indicate that self-disclosure, parental monitoring, and generalized support from parents and school personnel provide a protective factor against teen substance use and threats to safety. On the other hand, the study found that adult relationships are less important than other factors, such as race/ethnic identity, substance use, and risk-seeking behaviors in determining gang involvement. Overall, a teen’s self-disclosure to parents had the greatest effect on preventing risk behaviors. In light of this finding, the authors suggest that high-risk adolescents and their parents could benefit from programs that work toward teaching communication skills. The first author is affiliated with the Tucson Unified School District. Dr. Miller-Loessi is a faculty associate in the School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University.
Sussman, S., Dent, C. W., Stacy, A. W., Burciaga, C., Raynor, A., Turner, G. E., et al. (1990). Peer-group association and adolescent tobacco use. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 99, 349–352.
This study examines whether peer groups influence a young person’s decision to use tobacco. The study was conducted with a sample of 955 7th- and 10th-grade students in southern California. Approximately half the sample were boys, and a little more than half were White. The peer groups included adolescents with problem behaviors, academic performers, athletes, surfers and skateboarders, and average adolescents. Contrary to Mosbach and Leventhal (1988), but consistent with other research, this study found that academic performers were least likely to smoke. Adolescents with problem behaviors were most likely to report experimentation with different drugs and most likely to be involved in risk-taking behaviors. Consistent with previous research (Jessor & Jessor, 1977), the results indicate that peer group identification is an indicator of tobacco use and other risk-taking behavior. Dr. Sussman is a professor of preventive medicine and psychology at the University of Southern California. His primary research interest is in drug abuse prevention and cessation.
VandenBerg, P., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Cafri, G., & Wall, M. (2007). Steroid use among adolescents: Longitudinal findings from Project EAT. Pediatrics, 119, 476–486.
The authors used data from a 5-year longitudinal study, Project EAT (Eating Among Teens), to assess the prevalence of steroid use in 2,516 middle and high school students in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The authors found that about 2 percent of adolescents reported taking steroids. There was a higher rate of steroid use among middle school males involved in sports that emphasize weight, such as wrestling and football, than among those involved in other sports. In addition, steroid use was associated with poor physical health and unhealthy lifestyle habits. Males using steroids exhibited lower self-esteem and a more depressed mood than nonusers. The predictors of use for male adolescents included wanting to weigh more and reporting higher use of healthy weight-control behaviors. The prevalence of steroid use in this study is similar to, or lower than, those reported in other studies (Johnston, O’Malley, Bachman, & Schulenberg, 2005). The findings of a lack of a gender difference for steroid use in this study, however, are different from the findings in other studies, most of which consistently found that more male than female adolescents use steroids (Bahrke, Yesalis, Kopstein, & Stephens, 2000; Cafri et al., 2005; Johnston et al., 2005). Overall, steroid use was less prevalent than the abuse of other substances, but findings suggests its mere presence warrants better education about its consequences. Dr. VandenBerg works with the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota.
Van Horn, M. L., Hawkins, J. D., Arthur, M. W., & Catalano, R. F. (2007). Assessing community effects on adolescent substance use and delinquency. Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 925–946.
In this study, researchers asked community leaders to rate community-level risk factors in order to investigate how well these ratings predict adolescent problem behavior and substance abuse. The sample comprised 30,978 students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 and 602 community leaders in 41 predominantly White communities. Community leaders rated their communities on four risk factors: community norms favorable to substance use, community law enforcement permissive of substance use, low neighborhood attachment (lack of feeling like part of a community), and community disorganization (problems with the levels and handling of crime and violence). Results indicate that community leaders’ perceptions were valid and useful. Community leaders and students demonstrated modest agreement in assessments of community risk factors. Leader ratings of community norms and community law enforcement permissiveness were directly related to levels of serious delinquency. The findings suggest that the community leaders’ ratings of risk factors predict student problem behaviors. These findings have implications for developing prevention efforts based on community-level risk and protective factors. Dr. Van Horn is an assistant professor of quantitative psychology at the University of South Carolina.
Williams, J. F., & Storck, M. (2007). Inhalant abuse. Pediatrics, 119, 1009–1017.
In this clinical report, the authors used data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health to provide an overview of inhalant abuse among adolescents. They detail the substances abused, physical effects, and ways parents, educators, and physicians can identify adolescents engaged in abuse. According to the researchers, inhalant abuse peaks at about ages 14 and 15 and declines by ages 17 to 19. Until age 18, gender use is similar; but from ages 18 to 25, more males than females abuse inhalants. Abuse is linked to those involved in delinquent behavior, to people living in poverty, or with family conflict. Since 2002, the overall rate of abuse has been stable; however, younger students (8th and 10th graders) now perceive there is less risk in inhalants. As suggested by Bachman and colleagues (Bachman, Johnston, O’Malley, & Humphrey, 1988), perception of decreased risk involving drug use usually takes place before an upward swing in the use of that particular drug. Based on these findings, the authors recommend increased education about the risks and improved treatment for abusers. Dr. Williams is a pediatrician practicing in San Antonio, Texas.
Williams, J. H., Davis, L. E., Johnson, S. D., Williams, T. R., Saunders, J. A., & Nebbitt, V. E. (2007). Substance use and academic performance among African American high school students. Social Work Research, 31, 151–161.
In this study, the authors examined to what extent substance use, family, individual, and financial concerns were associated with academic performance among a sample of 212 African-American students attending an urban high school located in the midwestern United States. The student body was 99 percent African American, with approximately equal numbers of boys and girls. The results indicated that marijuana use, parental substance use, and family financial concerns were associated with students’ academic intentions. Grade point average was associated with both marijuana use and parental substance use. These results highlight the importance of taking into account parental substance use when examining the link between substance abuse and academic performance among African-American students. Based on these findings, the authors suggest using a family approach in substance abuse interventions. Dr. Williams is dean of the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. His primary areas of research include mental health, delinquency, youth violence, and social issues of the African-American community.
Williams, J. H., Van Dorn, R. A., Ayers, C. D., Bright, C. L., Abbott, R. D., & Hawkins, J. D. (2007). Understanding race and gender differences in delinquent acts and alcohol and marijuana use: A developmental analysis of initiation. Social Work Research, 31, 71–81.
This study explores the relationship between juvenile crime and adolescent substance abuse while looking at race and gender differences. Data were drawn from the Seattle Social Development Project, a longitudinal study that identifies childhood risk and protective factors relating to delinquency and substance abuse. The study sample consisted of 588 African-American and Caucasian youth, with half of them being male. Data were collected at five intervals, from 7th through 12th grades. Results show a significant relationship between the role of family and peers and the use of substances or delinquent acts. A family that is less economically well-off and less involved, especially in a male adolescent’s life, increases the likelihood the child will get in trouble. Peers engaging in delinquent behavior increase the odds of boys becoming involved in substance use. African-American boys have higher rates of delinquency, violent acts, and involvement with the law than Caucasian youth, though Caucasian adolescents are more likely to initiate alcohol or marijuana use. Dr. Williams is dean of the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. His primary areas of research include mental health, delinquency, youth violence, and social issues in the African-American community.
Wu, L. T., Pilowsky, D. J., & Schlenger, W. E. (2004). Inhalant abuse and dependence among adolescents in the United States. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 43, 1206–1214.
Inhalant use and how it progresses to dependence and abuse is the subject of this study, which surveyed more than 36,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17. Although 9 percent of the surveyed adolescents reported using inhalants at some point, younger students were especially likely to be users. Glue, shoe polish, and gasoline were the most commonly abused substances. Inhalant abuse affected adolescents regardless of gender, age, race, or family income, although African Americans were the least likely to use inhalants and American Indians the most likely. The progression from inhalant use to abuse was related to early first use, use of multiple inhalants, and frequency of use. Adolescents with inhalant-use disorders reported abusing other drugs, being treated for mental health issues, and engaging in delinquent behaviors. Because early use is associated with progression to abuse, the authors recommend that prevention programs target elementary school-age children. Modified author abstract. Dr. Wu is an associate research professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University.
Zador, P. L., Krawchuk, S. A., & Voas, R. B. (2000). Alcohol-related relative risk of driver fatalities and driver involvement in fatal crashes in relation to driver age and gender: An update using 1996 data. Journal of Studies of Alcohol, 61, 387–395.
This article presents estimates of age- and gender-specific relative risk of fatal crash involvement as a function of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for drivers involved in a fatal crash and for drivers fatally injured in a crash. The authors combined crash data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System with exposure data from the 1996 National Roadside Survey of Drivers, in which noncommercial operators of four-wheel motor vehicles were interviewed and breath-tested during a roughly 1-month period. In general, the relative risk of involvement in a fatal vehicle crash increased steadily with increasing driver BAC in every age and gender group among both fatally injured and surviving drivers. Among 16- to 20-year old male drivers, a BAC increase of 0.02 percent from a nonzero BAC was estimated to more than double the relative risk of a fatal single-vehicle crash injury. With few exceptions, older drivers had lower risk of being fatally injured in a single-vehicle crash than younger drivers, as did women compared with men in the same age range. Findings indicate that drivers with a BAC of less than 0.10 percent pose highly elevated risk both to themselves and to other road users. Dr. Zador is a senior statistician at the Rockville Institute for the Advancement of Social Science.

Substance Abuse — Interventions/Programs

Battistich, V., Schaps, E., Watson, M., Solomon, D., & Lewis, C. (2000). Effects of the Child Development Project on students’ drug use and other problem behaviors. Journal of Primary Prevention, 21, 75–99.
This study examines the effectiveness of the Child Development Project (CDP) on students’ drug use and other problem behaviors. CDP is a school-based prevention program developed to promote children’s resilience to risk and to foster positive social, emotional, and intellectual development. Study participants were 5,500 students and 550 teachers at 24 rural, urban, and suburban elementary schools. The schools had diverse student populations; approximately half the students were male. Following baseline assessments, the program was introduced over a period of 3 years. Similar schools in the same districts served as comparison groups. Evaluation findings indicated that when the program was implemented widely throughout a school, there were significant reductions in students’ use of drugs. Students in the CDP schools were also significantly less likely to run away from home or be involved in a gang. Dr. Battistich is an associate professor in the Division of Educational Psychology, Research and Evaluation at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Botvin, G. J., Baker, E., Dusenbury, L., Botvin, E. M., & Diaz, T. (1995). Long-term follow-up results of a randomized drug abuse prevention trial in a White middle-class population. JAMA, 273, 1106–1112.
This article describes a study that evaluated the long-term efficacy of a school-based drug abuse prevention randomized trial. With a sample of 3,597 predominantly White 12th-grade students from 56 public high schools, this study compared 2 intervention groups with a control group. Results indicate that significant reductions in both drug and polydrug use (tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana) were found for the two intervention groups relative to the control group. These findings were consistent with other studies that focused on the importance of teaching students skills for resisting social influences to use drugs. Based on these findings, the authors also suggest three strategies for school-based drug abuse prevention programs: (1) teach a combination of social resistance skills and general life skills; (2) properly implement the intervention, and (3) include at least 2 years of booster sessions. Dr. Botvin is a professor of psychology and director of Weill Medical College’s Institute for Prevention Research at Cornell University. He also holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Public Health and Psychiatry. Dr. Botvin has a national reputation as a behavioral scientist in the areas of health promotion and disease prevention and is widely recognized as an expert in the field of tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse prevention.
Holder, H. D. (2004). Community prevention of young adult drinking and associated problems. Alcohol Research & Health, 28, 245–249.
This article briefly summarizes three evidence-based community intervention programs sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to curtail underage drinking. Each program was comprehensive and focused on changing the attitudes and policies in the entire community. As a result of the interventions, each of the communities experienced reduced alcohol sales to youth as well as reduced rates of harm caused by alcohol use among youth and young adults. Findings, which were consistent with previous studies, indicate that interventions aimed at restructuring the community’s total alcohol environment are more likely to be successful than single-intervention strategies. Dr. Holder is a senior research scientist and former director at the Prevention Research Center. He works with the Department of Health Education in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on the prevention of alcohol problems.
Kellam, S. G., & Anthony, J. C. (1998). Targeting early antecedents to prevent tobacco smoking: Findings from an epidemiologically based randomized field trial. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 1490–1495.
This study tested the effects of two classroom-based interventions—the Good Behavior Game and Mastery Learning—on the initial tobacco use of preadolescents. The interventions targeted early predictors of tobacco use: aggressive/disruptive behavior and academic underachievement. The Good Behavior Game is a behavior management strategy designed to reduce aggressive and disruptive behavior. Mastery Learning is aimed at raising reading achievement scores. A sample of 1,604 children was drawn from schools located in urban areas ranging from low income to middle class. The interventions were implemented while students were in the first and second grades. Students were then asked every year until they were 14 years old whether they had tried tobacco and their age at first use. By 14 years old, 31 percent of the sample had tried smoking. Overall, boys in the Good Behavior Game classrooms were less likely than boys with no intervention to initiate tobacco use and examination of risk defined at first grade entry showed that boys were also at lower risk of starting to smoke than boys in the control classrooms. Findings indicate the potential usefulness of universal prevention efforts in reducing initial tobacco use, particularly among boys. Dr. Kellam is the director of the Prevention Research Center at Johns Hopkins University.
Kumpfer, K. L., & Alder, S. (2003). Dissemination of research-based family interventions for the prevention of substance abuse. In Z. Sloboda  & W. B. Bukoski (Eds.). Handbook of drug abuse prevention: Theory, science and practice (pp. 75–100). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
In this review, the authors provide support for family-strengthening interventions for adolescent substance abuse. The authors first review the literature regarding the prevalence of substance use among adolescents and the need for family-based substance use interventions. They say that few (i.e., fewer than 10 percent) of the preventive interventions that are implemented for adolescent substance use have been scientifically tested. The authors discuss four family interventions with evidence of effectiveness: behavioral parent training, family skills training, family therapy, and in-home family support. Principles of effective family interventions are discussed (e.g., comprehensive, long term, culturally and developmentally appropriate), followed by strategies for dissemination (e.g., Internet, regional conferences, provision of technical assistance). Dr. Kumpfer is a professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Education at the University of Utah. Her major areas of research interest are adolescent substance abuse prevention and family strengthening approaches.
Sussman, S., Earleywine, M., Wills, T., Cody, C., Biglan, T., Dent, C.W., et al. (2004). The motivation, skills, and decision-making model of “drug abuse” prevention. Substance Use & Misuse, 39, 1971–2016.
This study reviewed 29 targeted drug use prevention programs for their effects on drug use or other problem behaviors. Three components of successful programs were identified: motivation, skills, and decisionmaking. The study goes on to link each component to theories in clinical psychology, social psychology, sociology, and chemical dependence treatment. This study further recognizes the interrelationship among tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use; antisocial behavior; high-risk sexual behaviors; and depression. Consistent with previous research (Eggert, Thompson, Herting, & Nicholas, 1995; Sussman & Ames, 2001), the findings highlight the necessity of providing comprehensive interventions for youth with multiple problem behaviors and identifying the context that influences those problems. Dr. Sussman is a professor of preventive medicine and psychology at the University of Southern California. His primary research interest is in drug abuse prevention and cessation.
Tebes, J. K., Feinn, R., Vanderploeg, J. J., Chinman, M. J., Shepard, J., Brabham, T., et al. (2007). Impact of a positive youth development program in urban after-school settings on the prevention of adolescent substance use. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41, 239–247.
This study examines the effectiveness of an afterschool positive youth development (PYD) program for urban, minority adolescents at risk for substance use and other problem behavior. Previous research has shown that unsupervised out-of-school time is associated with various negative youth outcomes, including criminal behavior and substance use. The PYD program in this study used an 18-session, evidence-based approach to teach substance use prevention skills. The program also included health education and cultural heritage activities. The study compared 149 adolescents in the intervention group with 155 adolescents in a control group. Adolescents in the intervention group were significantly more likely to view drugs as harmful and showed significantly lower substance use 1 year after beginning the program. The authors suggest that an afterschool PYD program can be effective in preventing or reducing substance use and other problem behavior in at-risk, urban, minority adolescents. Dr. Tebes is an associate professor of psychology at the Psychiatry and Child Study Center at Yale University. His research focuses on the prevention and treatment of mental illness.
Wandersman, A., & Florin, P. (2003). Community interventions and effective prevention. American Psychologist, 58, 441-448.
In this article, the authors discuss community intervention programs and offer ways to improve their success.  The authors acknowledge the importance of community-based intervention and prevention programs and describe several successful programs in the areas of substance abuse, smoking, drinking, arson and more.  However, the authors find that a larger number of community programs provide inconsistent results and little tangible success.  In many cases, this failure is because local leaders do not have the resources or experience needed to develop and implement a program properly.  The authors offer several solutions, including results-based accountability to ensure that funds go to those programs that work, and an accountability questionnaire, included as a table in the article, with ten questions local community leaders should answer before beginning a program.  The authors believe in the power of community-based programs, but argue that more local resources and planning are required to make the programs effective. Dr. Wandersman is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Carolina.  He specializes in the areas of community psychology, community coalitions, citizen participation and program evaluation.
Williams, C. L., & Perry, C. L. (1998). Lessons from Project Northland: Preventing alcohol problems during adolescence. Alcohol Health and Research World, 22, 107–116.
In this article, the authors describe Project Northland, a two-phase, community-based alcohol prevention program for adolescents, and discuss related challenges and lessons learned. Project Northland followed more than 2,500 students from sixth grade through high school graduation. Phase 1, which began in 6th grade and was completed in 8th grade, addressed peer leadership, parental involvement, and community-level change. There were significant reductions in drinking among youth following Phase 1. Phase 2, which was completed during the students’ final 2 years of high school, focused on changing community norms around adolescent alcohol use (e.g., it is unacceptable for high school students to drink and for adults to provide them with alcohol), which represented a strategic challenge for Project Northland. Determining the effects of media and advertising on adolescent alcohol consumption also represented a challenge faced by Project Northland researchers. Phase 2 results were not available at the time of this article’s publication. Dr. Williams is a professor in the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include drug and alcohol use among adolescents and prevention of drug and alcohol problems.

[ Go to Contents ]

Victimization and Mortality

Baldry, A. C., & Farrington, D. P. (2005). Protective factors as moderators of risk factors in adolescence bullying. Social Psychology of Education, 8, 263–284.
Researchers examined how protective factors buffer the effects of risk factors for bullying and victimization in high school boys. The authors surveyed 679 high school boys and found that during the 3-month period preceding the study, more than 1 in 3 of the boys reported having bullied someone; nearly 14 percent bullied someone at least once a week; 17 percent reported being the victim of bullying; 5 percent reported victimization at least once a week; and 50 percent of bullying victims reported being bullies themselves. Results indicate that experiencing regular parental conflict increases the risk of both bullying and being bullied; punitive parenting is also associated with victimization. However, having supportive and authoritative parents and using problem-solving skills lowered the risk of both bullying and victimization. The authors assert that family relationships and parenting styles only partially explain the risk factors for bullying. Other contributing factors include school context, general social norms, and individual characteristics. Their findings are consistent with other studies (Ahmed  & Braithwaite, 2004; Bowers, Smith, & Binney, 1994; Rigby, 1996). Dr. Baldry is a senior lecturer in social psychology at the Second University of Naples, Italy. Her work focuses on bullying, juvenile delinquency, and victimization issues.
Cho, H., Hallfors, D. D., & Iritani, B. J. (2007). Early initiation of substance use and subsequent risk factors related to suicide among urban high school students. Addictive Behaviors, 32, 1628–1639.
This study investigates the association between the age at which young people began to use drugs and alcohol and their risk factors related to suicide. Early onset of substance use has been considered to be an important risk factor for subsequent problem behaviors and psychiatric disorders (DuRant, Smith, Kreiter, & Krowchuk, 1999). Data were collected from 1,252 adolescents in grades 9 through 11 in 9 high schools in 2 large urban school districts. Students completed surveys that asked about their substance use, depressive symptoms, suicide ideation, suicidal ideation specifically during alcohol and/or drug use, belief in suicide as a personal option, and suicide attempt. Results show that the earlier onset of drug use among boys was associated with all five suicide risk factors. Among girls, earlier onset of regular cigarette smoking, drinking, and hard drug use was associated with some of the suicide risk factors. Findings suggest the importance of screening for substance use in early adolescence and indicate that both research and intervention efforts should incorporate gender differences. Dr. Cho is a research scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.
Courtenay, W. H. (2003). Key determinants of the health and the well-being of men and boys. International Journal of Men’s Health, 2, 1–27.
This article provides an overview of the health and healthcare needs of men and boys in the United States. A self-administered health risk assessment identified 30 key elements that determine physical and mental health were summarized under the following four categories: behaviors of men and boys; health-related beliefs and the expression of emotions and physical distress; biological, economic, cultural, and environmental factors; and health care. The authors reported that 3 of 4 deaths of 15- to 24-year-olds were of males; boys were more likely to report no support when feeling stressed or overwhelmed; and boys were at a greater risk for mental health problems diagnosed in childhood. The authors conclude that efforts to address these health risks through research, practice, and policy could contribute to better health for boys and men, as well as healthier families and communities. Dr. Courtenay is a professor at Sonoma State University and director of Men’s Health Consulting in Berkeley, California.
Kilpatrick, D. G., Ruggiero, K, J., Acierno, R., Saunders, B. E., Resnick, H. S., & Best,  C. L. (2003). Violence and risk of PTSD, major depression, substance abuse/dependence, and comorbidity: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 692–700.
The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive episode, and substance abuse/dependence would increase following exposure to interpersonal violence. Data were drawn from a national household probability sample of over 4,000 adolescents. The sample for the present study included 2,002 boys and 1,904 girls between the ages of 12 and 17; data were weighted so that the sample was representative of U.S. Census data. About two times the proportion of girls than boys met the criteria for PTSD and major depressive episode, while the proportion of girls and boys with substance abuse/dependence was similar. About 75 percent of adolescents with PTSD had a comorbid disorder versus 40 percent of those with a major depressive episode or substance abuse/dependence. Findings suggest that exposure to interpersonal violence (e.g., physical assault, witnessed violence, sexual assault) was linked to increased risk of PTSD, major depressive episode, and substance abuse/dependence. Dr. Kilpatrick is the Director of the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the Medical University of South Carolina. His research interests include measuring the scope and mental health impact of potentially traumatic events.
May, D. C., Vartanian, L. R., & Virgo, K. (2002). The impact of parental attachment and supervision on fear of crime among adolescent males. Adolescence, 37, 267–287.
The authors investigated whether parental attachment and supervision affects adolescents’ fear of being victimized. For this study, 318 adolescent males in prison in a midwestern State were surveyed and reported on their demographics, perceived safety, perceptions of risk, and the effect of parental attachment and supervision. Although this sample is not truly representative of the adolescent male population, the authors note that this sample’s experiences might illustrate certain parental conditions that may contribute to fear of victimization. Of the sample population, males who reported feeling the most attached to their parents were also less fearful of criminal victimization and felt safer in their environment than males with weaker parental attachments. In addition, males who received closer supervision from their parents were more fearful of criminal victimization, but had lower levels of perceived risk. Dr. May is an associate professor of correctional and juvenile justice and coordinator of the graduate degree program at Eastern Kentucky University. His areas of interest include alternative sentencing effects and gender and racial differences in the criminal justice system.
Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among U.S. youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. JAMA, 285, 2094–2100.
This study examines the prevalence of bullying behaviors among youth to determine the association of bullying and being bullied with psychosocial adjustment. Bullying was defined as a specific type of aggression, either physical or psychological, in which the behavior is intended to harm or disturb; the behavior occurs repeatedly over time; and there is an imbalance of power, with a more powerful person or group attacking a less powerful one. Self-report data were collected from a national sample of 15,686 students in grades 6 through 10 in public and private schools. Psychosocial adjustment was measured through survey questions about problem behaviors, social and emotional well-being, and parental influences. Results show that almost 30 percent of the sample reported moderate or frequent involvement in bullying, as a bully (13 percent), being bullied (11 percent), or both (6 percent). Males were more likely than females to be both perpetrators and targets of bullying. The frequency of bullying was higher among 6th- through 8th-grade students than among 9th- and 10th-grade students. Perpetrating and experiencing bullying were associated with poorer psychosocial adjustment; however, different patterns of association occurred among bullies, those bullied, and those who both bullied others and were bullied themselves. Dr. Nansel is a researcher at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Peterson, D., Taylor, T. J., & Esbensen, F. A. (2004). Gang membership and violent victimization. Justice Quarterly, 21, 793–815.
This study examined the relationship between gang membership, victimization, and reasons for joining a gang. The study used both cross-sectional and longitudinal data from a 5-year, multistate evaluation of a middle school-based youth gang prevention program. The cross-sectional data included a sample of 5,935 students, and the longitudinal data included a sample of 3,500 students. Results from the cross-sectional data indicate that gang members experienced higher levels of victimization than nongang youth before gang involvement, during gang involvement, and after leaving a gang. Longitudinal data showed that youth who joined gangs for protection did not have lower victimization rates once in a gang compared with youth who joined gangs for different reasons, such as being forced to join, thinking it would be fun, or having a sibling or friend in a gang. The authors suggest that interventions should seek to lessen youths’ experiences as victims of violence, whereas prevention efforts should help dispel the myth that gangs provide a safe haven for their members. An assistant professor in the University at Albany’s School of Criminal Justice, Dr. Peterson studies the etiology of delinquency and youth gang membership.
Resnick, M. D., Ireland, M., & Borowsky, I. (2004). Youth violence perpetration: What protects? What predicts? Findings from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Journal of Adolescent Health, 35, 424.e1–424.e10.
This study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine risk and protective factors for violence perpetration among adolescents. Data were collected from 13,110 adolescents in 7th through 12th grades at two points in time, about a year apart. About 23 percent of girls and 39 percent of boys reported engaging in violent behavior in the past year (e.g., got into a serious physical fight). Adolescents were less likely to engage in violent behavior when they felt connected to their school, family, and adults outside of their family; when their parents had high academic expectations for them; and when their parents were consistently present at certain times (e.g., after school). Other protective factors included religiosity and a high grade point average. In terms of risk factors, more boys reported engaging in violent behavior if they had access to firearms in the home and if they worked for pay 20 hours or more per week during the school year. Involvement with alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs was a risk factor for boys and girls. Dr. Resnick is a professor of pediatrics and public health and director of research in the Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Richards, M. H., Larson, R., Miller, B. V., Luo, Z., Sims, B., Parrella, D. P., et al. (2004). Risky and protective contexts and exposure to violence in urban African American young adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 138–148.
This article focuses on factors that may place young people at greater or lesser risk for exposure to community violence. The study examined what contexts may increase or decrease the likelihood that youth will be exposed to violence and whether exposure to violence leads to delinquent behaviors. Researchers surveyed 167 6th- through 8th-grade, African-American students of different income levels in Chicago. Results show that the more time adolescents spent with peers, unmonitored, or engaged in unstructured activities, the more likely it was that they would be exposed to violence and engage in delinquent behavior. Overall, boys were more likely than girls to be exposed to violence and more likely to engage in delinquent behavior. These results are consistent with previous studies that found that unstructured time with peers is related to delinquent behaviors (Pettit, Bates, Dodge, & Meece, 1999). On the other hand, time spent with families and in structured activities was associated with less exposure to violence and fewer problem behaviors. Dr. Richards is a professor of clinical psychology at Loyola University Chicago. Her areas of interest include adolescence, African-American development, and exposure to violence. 
Ryan, L. G., Miller-Loessi, K., & Nieri, T. (2007). Relationships with adults as predictors of substance use, gang involvement, and threats to safety among disadvantaged urban high-school students. Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 1053–1071.
This study examines whether specific types of relationships with parents and school personnel protect teens from substance use, gang involvement, and other threats to physical safety. The participants included 342 ethnically diverse high school students in economically disadvantaged urban areas in the southwestern United States. Among the factors, the authors measured generalized parental support, open communication between adolescents and adults (self-disclosure), parental monitoring, and relationships with teachers/adults at school. The findings indicate that self-disclosure, parental monitoring, and generalized support from parents and school personnel provide a protective factor against teen substance use and threats to safety. On the other hand, the study found that adult relationships are less important than other factors, such as race/ethnic identity, substance use, and risk-seeking behaviors in determining gang involvement. Overall, a teen’s self-disclosure to parents had the greatest effect on preventing risk behaviors. In light of this finding, the authors suggest that high-risk adolescents and their parents could benefit from programs that work toward teaching communication skills. The first author is affiliated with the Tucson Unified School District. Dr. Miller-Loessi is a faculty associate in the School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University.
Stouthamer-Loeber, M., Wei, E. H., Homish, D. L., & Loeber, R. (2002). Which family and demographic factors are related to both maltreatment and persistent serious juvenile delinquency? Children’s Services:  Social Policy, Research and Practice, 5, 261–272.
This study examines the prevalence of maltreatment in boys and how maltreatment is related to persistent serious delinquent behavior. The study sample consisted of 503 boys in the Pittsburgh Youth Study and followed an experimental design in which victims of maltreatment were compared with individuals in a nonmaltreated control group. One-fifth of the sample had substantiated maltreatment. The study also showed that maltreated boys have a higher rate than nonmaltreated boys of persistent serious delinquency. Maltreated boys and persistent, serious delinquents share many family risk factors, including not living with both biological parents, having a teenage mother, having a caretaker without a high school diploma, and having an unemployed caretaker. After controlling for family interaction and family demographics, maltreatment did not have an independent effect on persistent serious delinquency, which is consistent with previous research. Dr. Stouthamer-Loeber works with the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research includes the progression of antisocial and delinquent behaviors in males, factors associated with the onset of conduct disorders, and factors involved in parents’ seeking help for their children’s behavior problems.
Sullivan, T. N., Farrell, A. D., & Kliewer, W. (2006). Peer victimization in early adolescence: Association between physical and relational victimization and drug use, aggression, and delinquent behaviors among urban middle school students. Development and Psychopathology, 18, 119–137.
This study explores whether adolescents who are victimized by a peer will manifest increased drug abuse, aggression toward others, or delinquent behavior. The study sample was a group of 276 predominantly African-American 8th graders. Victimization was defined as physical (being shoved, punched, or kicked) or relational (damaging someone’s relationship with peers). Forty-nine percent of the students reported being victims of physical aggression, whereas 61 percent reported relational victimization. Boys were more likely to be physically victimized, resulting in increased aggression and marijuana and alcohol use. Dr. Sullivan is an assistant professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Her research focuses on understanding the effect of aggression and exposure to violence on children’s healthy psychosocial and emotional development.
Sullivan, T. N., Farrell, A. D., Kliewer, W., Vulin-Reynolds, M., & Valois, R. F. (2007). Exposure to violence in early adolescence: The impact of self-restraint, witnessing violence, and victimization on aggression and drug use. Journal of Early Adolescence, 27, 296–323.
In a rural community, the authors studied the relationship between self-restraint and exposure to violence in early adolescence to determine whether a combination of these factors led to aggression or drug use. Approximately half the 900 sixth graders surveyed reported witnessing or experiencing violence, with boys more likely to have seen a beating or to have been the victim of a violent act. Results showed that students with lower levels of self-control faced increased rates of drug use and witnessing or experiencing violence. Findings suggest that students with lower levels of self-control may be thrill-seekers or have poor social skills and poor impulse control. Also, these factors may make these youth more likely to be involved in violent acts. Dr. Sullivan is an assistant professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Her research focuses on understanding the effect of aggression and exposure to violence on children’s healthy psychosocial and emotional development.
Taylor, T. J., Peterson, D., Esbensen, F. A., & Freng, A. (2007). Gang membership as a risk factor for adolescent violent victimization. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 44, 351–380.
This article describes a study that used cross-sectional survey data from a sample of 5,935 eighth graders in public schools in 11 communities across the United States. The study examined the different rates at which gang members and nongang members experience violent victimization, what factors may contribute to those differences, and whether, controlling for other factors, gang membership is a salient correlate of violent victimization. Results indicate that gang members were significantly more likely to be violently victimized and experience a greater number of victimizations than their nongang peers. Gang members also report greater levels of risk factors and lower levels of protective factors. In addition, males were twice as likely as their female counterparts to be violently victimized. These findings are consistent with other studies that investigated the link between gang membership and violent victimization (Miller, 1998, 2001; Peterson, Taylor, & Esbensen, 2004; see above). Dr. Taylor is an associate professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His primary research interests include juvenile victimization and offending, with an emphasis on the role of race/ethnicity.
Zador, P. L., Krawchuk, S. A., & Voas, R. B. (2000). Alcohol-related relative risk of driver fatalities and driver involvement in fatal crashes in relation to driver age and gender: An update using 1996 data. Journal of Studies of Alcohol, 61, 387–395.
This article presents estimates of age- and gender-specific relative risk of fatal crash involvement as a function of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for drivers involved in a fatal crash and for drivers fatally injured in a crash. The authors combined crash data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System with exposure data from the 1996 National Roadside Survey of Drivers, in which noncommercial operators of four-wheel motor vehicles were interviewed and breath-tested during a roughly 1-month period. In general, the relative risk of involvement in a fatal vehicle crash increased steadily with increasing driver BAC in every age and gender group among both fatally injured and surviving drivers. Among 16- to 20-year-old male drivers, a BAC increase of 0.02 percent from a nonzero BAC was estimated to more than double the relative risk of a fatal single-vehicle crash injury. With few exceptions, older drivers had lower risk of being fatally injured in a single-vehicle crash than younger drivers, as did women compared with men in the same age range. Findings indicate that drivers with a BAC less than 0.10 percent pose highly elevated risk both to themselves and to other road users. Dr. Zador is a senior statistician at the Rockville Institute for the Advancement of Social Science.

Victimization and Mortality — Interventions/programs

Kellermann, A. L., Fuqua-Whitley, D. S., Rivara, F. P., & Mercy, J. (1998). Preventing youth violence: What works? Annual Review of Public Health, 19, 271–292.
This meta-analysis examines “what works” in terms of youth violence prevention programs. More than 100 programs, separated into three category areas, were examined. Family and early childhood interventions include preventing teenage pregnancy, teaching parenting skills, and helping children enjoy school. Youth and adolescent interventions include teaching problem solving skills, promoting violence prevention, and mentoring. Community-level interventions involve afterschool programs, innovative teaching, and proactive policing. Results indicate that early childhood interventions are more effective than programs that focus on older children. The findings also show that programs for older children appear to be effective only during actual participation by youth, and lasting effects are limited. Finally, community-based interventions are shown to be somewhat effective in preventing youth violence but do not affect children as much as does a stable family environment. The primary audience for this study is program developers and policymakers in the youth violence prevention field. Dr. Kellermann is a professor and the founding chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Emory University and founding director of the Center for Injury Control at Rollins School of Public Health, a collaborating center for injury and violence prevention of the World Health Organization.
Tolan, P. (2001). Youth violence and its prevention in the United States: An overview of current knowledge. Injury Control and Safety Promotion, 8, 1–12.
This article provides an overview of the current understanding of the development of youth violence in the United States. The author reviews the research on different prevention approaches and describes research, practice, and policy implications of his review. The author states that youth violence continues to be a serious problem. There is increasingly compelling evidence that the exceptionally high levels of youth mortality are linked to access to guns by youth. There is also evidence that youth violence occurs in multiple forms and that these differing forms call for different prevention strategies. That is, some youth violence is situational, some is best understood within its relationship context, some occurs as part of predatory criminal activity, and some seems to be the result of serious mental disorders. Dr. Tolan is director of the Institute for Juvenile Research and professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on risk and prevention among children, youth and families as well as their developmental settings.

[ Go to Contents ]

Additional References

Ahmed, E., & Braithwaite, V. (2004). Bullying and victimization: Cause for concern for both families and schools. Social Psychology of Education, 7, 35–54.

Bachman, J. G., Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., & Humphrey, R. H. (1988). Explaining the recent decline in marijuana use: Differentiating the effects of perceived risks, disapproval, and general lifestyle factors. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 29, 92–112.

Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. (1993). How part-time work intensity relates to drug use, problem behavior, time use, and satisfaction among high school seniors: Are these consequences or merely correlates? Developmental Psychology, 29, 220–235.

Bahrke, M. S., Yesalis, C. E., Kopstein, A. N., & Stephens, J. A. (2000). Risk factors associated with anabolic-androgenic steroid use among adolescents. Sports Medicine, 29, 397–405.

Bowers, L., Smith, P. K., & Binney, V. (1994). Perceived family relationships of bullies, victims and bully/victims in middle childhood. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 11, 215–232.

Brent, D. A., Baugher, M., Bridge, J., Chen, T., & Chiappetta, L. (2000). Age- and sex-related risk factors for adolescent suicide. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 38, 1497–1505.

Brooks-Gunn, J., Duncan, G. J., Klebanov, P. K., & Sealand, N. (1993). Do neighborhoods influence child and adolescent development? American Journal of Sociology, 99, 353–395.

Bushway, S. D., & Reuter, P. (2002). Labor markets and crime risk factors. In L. W. Sherman, D. P Farrington, B. C. Welsh & D. L. MacKenzie (Eds.), Evidence-based crime prevention (pp. 198–240) . New York: Routledge.

Cafri, G., Thompson, J. K., Ricciardelli, L., McCabe, M., Smolak, L., & Yesalis, C. (2005). Pursuit of the muscular ideal: Physical and psychological consequences and putative risk factors. Clinical Psychology Review, 25, 215–239.

Child Trends. (n.d.). High school dropout rates. In Child Trends Data Bank. Retrieved February 6, 2008, from http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/indicators/1HighSchoolDropout.cfm

Crane, J. (1991). The epidemic theory of ghettos and neighborhood effects on dropping out and teenage childbearing. American Journal of Sociology, 96, 1226–1259.

Datcher, L. (1982). Effects of community and family background on achievement. Review of Economics and Statistics, 64, 32–41.

Dembo, R., Shemwell, M., Guida, J., Schmeidler, J., Baumgartner, W., Ramirez-Garnica, et al. (1999). A comparison of self-report, urine sample, and hair sample testing for drug use: A longitudinal study. In T. Mieczkowski (Ed.), Drug testing technology: Assessment of field applications (pp. 91–108). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Dishion, T. J., & Patterson, S. G. (1996). Preventive parenting with love, encouragement, and limits: The preschool years. Eugene, OR: Castalia Publishing Company.

Doherty, E. E., Green, K. M., & Ensminger, M. E. (2008). Investigating the long-term influence of adolescent delinquency on drug use initiation. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 93, 72-84.

Dornbusch, S. M., Ritter, P. L., & Steinberg, L. (1991). Community influences on the relation of family statuses to adolescent school performance: Differences between African Americans and non-Hispanic Whites. American Journal of Education, 99, 543–567.

Duncan, G. J. (1994). Families and neighbors as sources of disadvantage in the schooling decisions of White and Black adolescents. American Journal of Education, 103, 20–53.

DuRant, R. H., Smith, J. A., Kreiter, S. R., & Krowchuk, D. P. (1999). The relationship between early age of onset of initial substance use and engaging in multiple health risk behaviors among young adolescents. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 153, 286291.

Eggert, L. L., Thompson, E. A., Herting, J. R., & Nicholas, L. J. (1995). Reducing suicide potential among high-risk youth: Tests of a school-based prevention program. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 25, 276–296.

Faden, V. B., & Goldman, M. (2004/2005). Alcohol and development in youth—A multidisciplinary overview. Alcohol Research and Health, 28, 107–175.

Fan, X., & Chen, M. (2001). Parental involvement and students’ academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 13, 1–22.

Ferguson, R. F. (1998). Can schools narrow the Black-White test score gap? In C. Jencks & M. Phillips (Eds.), The Black-White test score gap (pp. 318–374). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.

Fox, M., Connolly, B. A., & Snyder, T. D. (2005). Youth indicators 2005: Trends in the well-being of American youth (NCES 2005–050). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Garner, C. L., & Raudenbush, S. W. (1991). Neighborhood effects on educational attainment: A multilevel analysis. Sociology of Education, 64, 251–262.

Greenberger, E., & Steinberg, L. (1986). When teenagers work: The psychological and social costs of adolescent employment. New York: Basic Books.

Herrenkohl, T. I., Maguin, E., Hill, K. G., Hawkins, J. D., Abbott, R. D., & Catalano, R. F. (2000). Developmental risk factors for youth violence. Journal of Adolescent Health, 26, 176–186.

Jessor, R., & Jessor, S. L. (1977). Problem behavior and psychosocial development: A longitudinal study of youth. New York: Academic Press.

Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2005). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975-2004. Volume I: Secondary school students (NIH Publication No. 05-5727). Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Keenan, K., Shaw, D. S., Walsh, B., Delliquadri, E., & Giovannelli, J. (1997). DSM-III-R disorders in preschool children from low-income families. Journal of the American Aca demy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, 620–627.

Little, P., & Lauver, S. (2005). Engaging adolescents in out-of-school time programs: Learning what works. Prevention Researcher, 12, 7–10.

Loeber, R., & Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (1986). Family factors as correlates and predictors of juvenile conduct problems and delinquency. In M. Tonry & N. Morris (Eds.), Crime and justice: An annual review of research (Vol. 7, pp. 29–149). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lundahl, B. W., Nimer, J., & Parsons, B. (2006). Preventing child abuse: A meta-analysis of parent training programs. Research on Social Work Practice, 16, 251–262.

Meier, K. J., Wrinkle, R. D., & Polinard, J. L. (1999). Representative bureaucracy and distributional equity: Addressing the hard question. Journal of Politics, 61, 1025–1039.

Mieczkowski, T., Newel, R., & Wraight, B. (1998). Using hair analysis, urinalysis, and self-reports to estimate drug use in a sample of detained juveniles. Substance Use and Misuse, 33, 1547–1567.

Miller, J. (1998). Gender and victimization risk among young women in gangs. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 35, 429–453.

Miller, J. (2001). One of the guys: Girls, gangs, and gender. New York: Oxford University Press.

Mosbach, P., & Leventhal, H. (1988). Peer group identification and smoking: Implications for intervention. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 97, 238–245.

Perkins, D. F., Luster, T., Villarruel, F. A., & Small, S. (1998). An ecological, risk-factor examination of adolescents’ sexual activity in three ethnic groups. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 60, 660–673.

Pettit, G. S., Bates, J. E., Dodge, K. A., & Meece, D. W. (1999). The impact of after-school peer contact on early adolescent externalizing problems is moderated by parental monitoring, perceived neighborhood safety, and prior adjustment. Child Development, 70, 768–778.

Power, T. J., Dowrick, P. W., Ginsburg-Block, M., & Manz, P. H. (2004). Partnership-based, community-assisted early intervention for literacy: An application of the participatory intervention model. Journal of Behavioral Education, 13, 93-115.

Raffaelli, M., Bogenschneider, K., & Flood, M. F. (1998). Parent-teen communication about sexual topics. Journal of Family Issues, 19, 315–333.

Resnick, M. D., Bearman, P. S., Blum, R. W., Bauman, K. E., Harris, K. M., Jones, J., et al. (1997). Protecting adolescents from harm. Findings from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health. JAMA, 278, 823–832.

Rigby, K. (1996). Bullying in schools and what to do about it.  London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Smith, C. (2003). Theorizing religious effects among American adolescents. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 42, 17–30.

Stark, R. (1996). Religion as context: Hellfire and delinquency one more time. Sociology of Religion, 57, 163–173.

Sussman, S., & Ames, S. L. (2001). The social psychology of drug abuse. Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Theodore, L. A., Bray. M. A., & Kehle, T. J. (2004). A comparative study of group contingencies and randomized reinforcers to reduce disruptive classroom behavior. School Psychology Quarterly, 19, 253-271.

Turner, M. D. (1994). The effects of part-time work on high school students’ academic achievement. Unpublished manuscript, University of Maryland at College Park.

Tyler, J. H. (2003). Using state child labor laws to identify the effect of school-year work on high school achievement. Journal of Labor Economics, 21, 353–380.

Uggen, C. (2000). Work as a turning point in the life course of criminals: A duration model of age, employment, and recidivism.  American Sociological Review, 65, 529–546.

Van Etten, M. L., & Anthony, J. C. (1999). Comparative epidemiology of initial drug opportunities and transitions to first use:  Marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 54, 117–125.

Werner, E. E. (1992). The children of Kauai:  Resiliency and recovery in adolescence and adulthood. Journal of Adolescent Health, 13, 262–268.

Wright, J. P., Cullen, F. T., & Williams, N. (1997). Working while in school and delinquent involvement: Implications for social policy. Crime and Delinquency, 43, 203–221.

[ Go to Contents ]


Endnotes

[1] A word about quantitative and qualitative research: quantitative methods are those that focus on numbers and frequencies.  Quantitative methods (for example, experiments, questionnaires, and psychometric tests) provide information that is easy to analyze statistically and fairly reliable.  Qualitative methods, on the other hand, are ways of collecting data that are concerned with describing meaning, rather than with drawing statistical inferences.  Qualitative methods (such as case studies and interviews) require smaller sample sizes and provide more in depth and rich descriptions.

[2] Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C. & Razavieh, A. (2002). Introduction to research in education (6th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Thompson Learning.  The minimum of 30 cases rule of thumb came as a result of simple sampling simulations that showed by the time the sample sizes reached 30 to 32, the distribution of the means started to look normal.

[3] Following are brief descriptions for each of the traditions of inquiry.

Source: Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design:  Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

[ Go to Contents ]

Additional Resources

To download an electronic copy of this document visit:
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/boys/Biblio

For more information and resources on boys, including promising interventions and federal approaches to help boys, visit:

Project Page:
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/boys/

Fact Sheets:
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/boys/FactSheets

Findings Brief:
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/boys/Findings1


Where to?

Top of Page | Contents

Home Pages:
Project Page
Human Services Policy (HSP)
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Last updated:  09/16/08