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IES Grant

Title: Family-Centered Intervention in Schools to Reduce Social and Behavioral Problems From Early Elementary School to Adolescence
Center: NCSER Year: 2018
Principal Investigator: Stormshak, Elizabeth Awardee: University of Oregon
Program: Social and Behavioral Outcomes to Support Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 Years (07/01/2018-06/30/2023) Award Amount: $3,299,983
Goal: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R324A180037
Description:

Co-Principal Investigator: McIntyre, Laura

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the long-term efficacy of the Kindergarten Family Check-Up (FCU), a school-based, family-centered intervention intended to prevent student social and behavioral problems. In addition, the research team will examine the impact of a booster session of FCU delivered during the transition to middle school, as providing support during key transitions (e.g., school entry, transition to middle school) may be critical for school success for students with or at risk for problem behavior. For students at high-risk for behavior problems, questions remain about the sustainability of impacts from early intervention over time and the dosage needed to prevent future problems. A recently completed randomized controlled trial of Kindergarten FCU demonstrated positive impacts on student behavior and academic outcomes during and up to three years after the transition to kindergarten. The current study is both a follow-up and an extension of the Kindergarten FCU. The primary aims are to determine the long-term impact of receiving the original kindergarten intervention and the effects of a middle school booster session of FCU on students' behavior and academic outcomes. In addition, the current study will examine factors related to the successful adoption and implementation of the FCU by schools.

Project Activities: The research team will follow the two cohorts of students and families who participated in an initial efficacy study of Kindergarten FCU, whether they received FCU or  business-as-usual services, to (1) collect follow-up data on all students when they are in Grade 4 and (2) re-randomize students to receive the middle school booster or not. Re-randomization will result in the following four conditions: services as usual, Kindergarten FCU only, middle school booster only, and Kindergarten FCU plus middle school booster. The middle school booster will be implemented during Grade 5 as students prepare for the transition to middle school and assessments of outcomes will take place over the course of three years (5th – 7th grade). In addition to evaluating the long-term efficacy of Kindergarten FCU and the comparative efficacy of the middle school booster, the researchers will explore moderators (e.g., family engagement) and mediators (e.g., parenting skills, children's self-regulation) of intervention response, and conduct a cost analysis of the FCU program. In Year 5, researchers will conduct focus groups with parents, teachers, school administrators, and family consultants (e.g., school counselors, school psychologists) to examine factors that may impede or promote adoption and implementation of FCU in schools.

Products: The products of this project will include evidence of the long-term efficacy of the Kindergarten FCU intervention and the comparative efficacy of implementing a booster FCU during the transition to middle school. Products will also include peer-reviewed publications and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in the five high-poverty, diverse, urban elementary schools in Oregon that participated in the prior Kindergarten FCU project.

Sample: A total of 365 students and their families who participated in the prior Kindergarten FCU project will participate in the current study (beginning in Grade 4). At the time of the original study, approximately 20% of the student sample received services for a disability or developmental delay. In Year 5, approximately 8 parents and 8 school personnel will participate in the focus groups.

Intervention: The FCU involves three tiers of intervention and is implemented over the course of a school year. The FCU interventions are tailored and adapted to family need based on systematic assessments and needs identified by caregivers. The first level consists of universal components, such as brochures and information about family-to-school planning and skills. The second level focuses on caregivers promoting self-regulation and academic skills in their children by using skilled family management to encourage positive daily routines and provide behavior support. The third, or indicated, level focuses on three primary content areas – continued positive behavior support for daily routines, academic support with home-to-school behavior support, and community referrals and resources. The FCU does this through motivational interviewing and parent meetings with a parent consultant who builds a collaborative relationship with families and will guide them through the intervention. These meetings build parent relationships with the school, assess various aspects of the home environment (e.g. parenting skills, child behavior, life stressors), and provide specific, strengths-based feedback to the family. The elementary and middle school versions of FCU are similar, but with different, developmentally appropriate activities. For example, the early intervention version includes a variety of components that are tailored to school entry, such as a parent–child shared book-reading tasks and Lego-building tasks to assess teaching and parenting skills, child problem solving, and self-regulation of emotions and behaviors. In the middle school version, these tasks are replaced with activities that focus on developmentally appropriate challenges during the middle school years including academic success (e.g., time management, organization, study skills), substance use, and peer relationships.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will follow-up with two cohorts of students involved in a previous randomized controlled trial of Kindergarten FCU study to assess the long-term impacts of the Kindergarten FCU. Students will also be re-randomized in order to test the effects of receiving a middle school FCU booster session. During Year 1, follow-up data will be collected on students involved in the original study when they are in Grade 4. The research team will then randomly assign half of the original intervention families and half of the control families to receive an additional booster session during the middle school transition. Randomization will result in the following four groups: Kindergarten FCU only, middle school booster session only, Kindergarten FCU and middle school booster, and control. The middle school booster will be implemented when students are in Grades 5 (Years 2 for Cohort 1 and Years 3 for Cohort 2). Outcome assessments will take place over the course of three years (5th – 7th grade). Fidelity data will be collected on an ongoing basis. Analyses will be conducted to evaluate the long-term impact of the Kindergarten FCU, test the comparative efficacy of the middle school booster session, explore moderators (e.g., family engagement) and mediators (e.g., parenting skills, children's self-regulation) of intervention response, and analyze the costs of the FCU program. To understand factors related to the adoption and implementation of FCU by schools, in Year 5 the researchers will identify one school as a model demonstration site, and train school staff on FCU. Focus groups will be conducted with parents, teachers, school administrators, and family consultants (e.g., school counselors, school psychologists) to examine factors that impede and promote adoption and implementation of FCU in schools.

Control Condition: In the control condition, students and their families will receive business-as-usual instruction and services. 

Key Measures: A variety of measures will be used to assess outcomes in the following domains: family sociocultural contexts and resources, student academic competence and achievement, student self-regulation and problem behavior, and family management and parent-school involvement. The research team will use multiple informants (parents, youth, teachers, observers) and multiple methods (e.g., questionnaires, interviews, observations). Measures of family sociocultural contexts and resources include a demographic questionnaire, the Financial Stress Questionnaire, Holmes and Rahe Stressful Life Events Inventory, Parent Substance Use Questionnaire, Patient Health Questionnaire Depression Screener, General Anxiety Disorders Screener, and the Family Conflict Scale. Measures of student academic competence and achievement include the Social Skills Improvement System and academic data collected from schools (i.e., referral and classification for special education, attendance records, and state academic achievement data). Student problem behavior will be measured with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Self-regulation will be assessed via parent and child reports on the Children's Behavior Questionnaire. Family management and parent-school involvement will be assessed via the Parental Monitoring Interview and Parent Involvement Scale. In addition, videotaped home observations will be used to assess quality of parent-child relationship, parenting skills, and academic support at home.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will analyze treatment effects using a combination of latent growth modeling and complier average causal effect modeling to evaluate the impact of the intervention on behavioral and academic outcomes, and examine mediators (e.g., parenting skills, children's self-regulation) and moderators (e.g., family engagement) of intervention effects. Descriptive statistics and a variety of qualitative data analyses (e.g., thematic analysis to identify patterns in responses) will be used to evaluate factors related to school adoption and implementation of FCU. Researchers will also conduct a cost analysis of the intervention.

Related IES Projects: Testing the Efficacy of an Ecological Approach to Family Intervention and Treatment During Early Elementary School to Prevent Problem Behavior and Improve Academic Outcomes (R305A140189)


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