Research continues into evidence based intervention

As the research supporting evidence based intervention continues to grow, proponents are beginning to analyse why specific programmes work; what are the components of a successful intervention and how can they complement one another?

Now, several researchers from various US government agencies have contributed to a study of the Multisite Violence Prevention Project – MVPP – which looks in depth at the success of evidence-based interventions.

The report hypothesises that common factors in evidence based intervention projects included the family environment, personal experiences and other factors that may influence the probability of a child’s healthy development. Issues of risk were analysed and assessed to determine the effect they may have on family and child outcomes.

Gerry Patterson and Thomas Dishion of Oregon’s Social Learning Centre concluded that poor parental control, supervision and coercive discipline may contribute to a situation which promotes negative behaviour.

Studies of what in effect was anecdotal evidence did not amount to a definitive conclusion and the researchers determined that more information was required before the conclusion could be deemed correct with any certainty. The researchers decided to look at an intervention programme and pose several questions.

They researched the results and operations of the Great Schools & Family programme and sought to determine whether interventions promoted positive outcomes such as reduced aggression and better attitudes towards schooling.

The Great Schools and Family programme works over a 15 week period where guardians and parents meet weekly with social workers and psychologists. During these sessions parental discipline is stressed along with rule based guidance for the families and increased involvement in the child’s education, for example homework programmes.

The trial was a multi-state exercise with 37 participating institutions including schools at Virginia, Georgia and Illinois. Each school had 4-8 children involved and altogether over 1,000 at risk children were covered in the trial either in a control or intervention group.

The researchers found that conclusive evidence could not be found that intervention as practiced by this particular programme contributed significantly to reduced aggression or a positive attitude to education.