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Introduction to Prevention and Intervention Programs

Discussion 1: Introduction to Prevention and Intervention Programs

In addition to peer relationships, the other topic you explore this week is an introduction to prevention and intervention programs. Your Final Project in this course centers on analyzing a social and emotional development program through the lens of social and emotional development research. This may be a relatively new area for some of you, and this Discussion helps you begin to lay the foundation for this important area of developmental science.

Prevention and intervention science may be thought of as the place where the rubber meets the road for developmental research. Its main objective is to take what we have learned from the basic research that has been done on a particular aspect of development and synthesize it into a program that can be taught to a wide array of people, such as individuals, families, married couples, and teachers. Many times, these programs include teaching, working in groups, watching videos, and doing exercises to bring the curriculum to life. Trained facilitators may teach or otherwise disseminate the program materials/services in churches, community centers, schools, or other organizations, and the programs are then studied to determine their effectiveness.

Some programs are prevention programs that aim to anticipate and provide solutions for an issue before it becomes a problem. Other programs are designed to be interventions and help support individuals who are currently facing some sort of challenge. For example, one of the gold standard programs that has been repeatedly demonstrated effective is the Nurse-Family Partnership program. This program aims to support first-time mothers in poverty with regular home visits from a trained nurse throughout the mother’s pregnancy and the child’s first 2 years of life. This program began over 40 years ago, and, in comparing mothers who did receive nurse visits to those who didn’t, researchers found:

· a 48% reduction in child abuse and neglect;

· a 56% reduction in emergency room visits for accidents and poisonings;

· a 59% reduction in child arrests at age 15;

· a 67% reduction in behavioral and intellectual problems in children age 6; and

· a 35% fewer hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

(Data taken from Nurse-Family Partnerships [2011].)

More information about the Nurse-Family Partnership program is located in this week’s optional Learning Resources if you would like to learn more.

This week, you review several prevention programs that focus on social and emotional development and decide which one you want to focus on for your Final Project. The overall objective is for you to evaluate the program’s design based on what you have learned about social and emotional development this term. You continue to discuss prevention programs as the course continues, observing the many innovative ways that individuals have taken the basic research and formulated programs to enhance social and emotional development across the lifespan.

To Prepare:

· Review the Final Project Guidelines and the Learning Resources on prevention and intervention programs.

· Think about the field of prevention/intervention research and development.

By Day 3

Post in your own words an explanation of what prevention and intervention programs are. How does developmental research inform their creation? Which aspects of social and emotional development can be supported by interventions? In what contexts are these programs implemented, and what would be the most effective ways to implement them? Please support your arguments with references to scholarly sources.

Discussion 2: Peer Relationships

As children move from childhood into adolescence, the goals and methods of peer interactions and friendships change. Children in this transitional period may develop more exclusive and close-knit peer friendships. Some children may demonstrate better social skills or show a better ability to blend in, for instance, leading to acceptance and more positive peer relationship outcomes. Other children, whether by virtue of temperament, social skill, or even appearance, may be rejected by peers and have poorer peer relationships.

A particularly negative manifestation of peer rejection is bullying, in which an aggressor attempts to threaten or humiliate another child. With the accessibility of the Internet, cyberbullying in particular has become an issue in many schools and communities. In 2012, Irish sisters Erin and Shannon Gallagher committed suicide only months apart (Daily Mail, 2012). The younger of the two, Erin, age 13, committed suicide first, ostensibly as a result of cyberbullying on social media. The elder, Shannon, age 15, killed herself 2 months later. These tragic deaths are two among many acts of violence, suicide, and other crimes that demonstrate the destructive potential of social networks as bullying tools. Unlike face-to-face bullying, that committed on the Internet is accessible to a much wider public and sometimes is even anonymous.

The good news is that parents, teachers, and other role models can affect change in the lives of children being bullied by applying research from developmental psychology. For this Discussion, you assume the role of a parent, teacher, or after-school program leader and consider how you would help a child navigate a difficult bullying situation.

To Prepare:

· After reviewing the Learning Resources, consider ways peer relationships change as children move from childhood into adolescence.

· Imagine you are a parent, teacher, or after-school program leader. An 8-, 12-, or 16-year-old student approaches you with concerns about bullying or aggression on social media. Choose one role for yourself and one of these three ages for your child/student. Based on the research, consider how would you advise him or her to address or mitigate the situation. How would your approach change based on the child’s gender and culture? (Please address culture and gender specifically in your initial post.)

By Day 4

Identify the role you selected for yourself and the child age you selected. Explain at least two specific ways you would advise the child/adolescent who felt bullied on social media. Include talking points or specific actions that the child could take. Frame your approach within the research of peer relationships and social and emotional development. Explain how you would account for culture and gender in the approach you take.

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Clarke-Stewart, A., & Parke, R. D. (2014). Social development (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

· Chapter 8, “Peers: A World of Their Own” (pp. 227–250) Social Development, 2nd Edition by Clarke-Stewart, A.; Parke, R. D. Copyright 2014 by John Wiley & Sons – Books. Reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons – Books via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405–432. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01564.x

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Guerra, N. G., Williams, K. R., & Sadek, S. (2011). Understanding bullying and victimization during childhood and adolescence: A mixed method study. Child Development, 82(1), 295–310.

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Holder, H. (2010). Prevention programs in the 21st century: What we do not discuss in public. Addiction, 105(4), 578–581.

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Lansford, J. E., Yu, T., Pettit, G. S., Bates, J. E., & Dodge, K. A. (2014). Pathways of peer relationships from childhood to young adulthood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 35(2), 111–117.

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Document: Final Project Guidelines (PDF)

Optional Resources

Nurse-Family Partnership. (2011a). Proven effective through extensive research. Retrieved from

The Nurse-Family Partnership Program is a great example of a program that was developed based on developmental and health research that has been repeatedly proven effective.

Nurse-Family Partnership. (2011b). Shakeena [Video file]. Retrieved from–shakeena

In this video, a young mother talks about her experience with her nurse from the Nurse Family Partnership program.

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