SDRG Projects

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A Pragmatic Trial of Parent-focused Prevention in Pediatric Primary Care

This UG3-UH3 application tests the feasibility and effectiveness of implementing Guiding Good Choices, a universal, evidence-based anticipatory guidance curriculum for parents of early adolescents, in three large, integrated healthcare systems serving socioeconomically diverse families. This intervention reduced adolescent alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use; depression; and delinquent behavior in two previous randomized controlled trials. It also strengthened parenting practices and parent-adolescent relationship quality, both broadly protective against behavioral health concerns. Guiding Good Choices has the capacity to achieve population-level impact on adolescent health if made widely available through pediatric primary care. Parents trust pediatricians’ advice regarding their children’s well-being, and current research with socioeconomically diverse groups suggests that they are eager to participate in family-focused programs offered in primary care clinics.

Building on this body of research, the investigative team, in cooperation with the NIH Healthcare Systems Research Collaboratory and healthcare systems partners, will conduct a cluster-randomized trial of Guiding Good Choices in 72 pediatric primary care practices, across three heterogeneous health care systems (HCS). Half will be randomly assigned to recommend the program universally to parents of 12-year-old adolescents, and half will serve as usual care controls. Using a workflow that is easy to adopt, implement, and maintain, at each adolescent’s 12-year-old well visit, primary care pediatricians will recommend that parents enroll in the intervention.

We anticipate recruiting over 3,600 families into the trial prior to beginning the intervention. The team will use the RE-AIM framework to test implementation outcomes and effectiveness, including hypothesized reductions in the study’s primary outcome of substance use initiation, several secondary behavioral health problems (e.g., substance use frequency, mood symptoms and diagnoses, delinquency), and some exploratory outcomes (e.g., emergency department and inpatient service utilization). We will use data from an Adolescent Behavioral Health Survey and the EHR to monitor outcomes up to 3 years post intervention.

We will also assess the feasibility and sustainability of implementing the intervention in each HCS, including health economic evaluation to understand costs in relation to value gained. Throughout the trial the investigative team will engage in ongoing dialog with HCS leaders, pediatricians, and clinic staff to ensure the intervention and implementation process fit the needs of each HCS. We anticipate that evidence of feasibility and effectiveness in three different HCS will foster broad dissemination to achieve public health impact.

Collaborators: Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Henry Ford Health System

Start Date: 2017
PI: Margaret Kuklinski; Stacy Sterling (Kaiser N. CA)
Funding: National Center on Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Office of Disease Prevention, Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

A Randomized Trial of Letting Go and Staying Connected,
an Interactive Parenting Intervention to Reduce Risky Behaviors Among Students

SDRG is working with Washington State on a five-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to examine how parents can best support their children while in college. The study will assess the effects of a handbook WSU will give to parents, Letting Go and Staying Connected with your WSU Student, which is designed to reduce alcohol, marijuana, and stimulant use among entering freshman. SDRG is working with WSU on the implementation, data collection, and analysis for the study. Starting in spring 2017, the project will follow a group of incoming students and their parents through two years of college. Three groups will be studied: families who don’t receive the handbook, families who do receive the handbook, and families who receive the handbook plus text message and email reminders, to determine what students and their families learn from handbook.

Dr. Laura Hill, Professor and Chair of the Human Development Department at WSU is the Principal Investigator; Dr. Kevin P. Haggerty, along with other SDRG staff, will be working with WSU on the study.

Start Date: 2017
Subcontract PI: Laura Hill
Co-PI: Kevin P. Haggerty
Funding: Subcontract with WSU (NIDA funded)

A Trial of Connecting to Prevent Drug Abuse
and Risky Behaviors in Foster Teens

This study continues work we’ve been doing under a developmental research grant and pilot study of Connecting, a self-directed, family-focused, substance abuse and risky sexual behavior prevention program for foster teens and their caregivers. The new study will be conducting a randomized controlled trial of the program with foster families and teens in Washington State. The program was adapted for use within the child welfare system, from Staying Connected with Your Teen (SCT), a family-based, self-directed prevention program that has shown long-term (2-year) effects in reducing initiation into drug use and sexual activity, and has reduced the frequency of violent behaviors, especially among low-income African American teens. Pilot data demonstrate less family conflict, clearer family expectations for behavior, less favorable attitudes for drug use, and a reduction in some risky problem behaviors in foster families in the program condition compared to wait-list controls. We will test the program with 260 foster youth-caregiver dyads. This 5-year efficacy study will 1) use a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of the program on key proximal and distal family outcomes for foster care families; 2) collect cost data and complete a cost-benefit analysis, should we find benefits to providing this preventive program; and 3) collaborate with child welfare partners during the final year of the study to maximize the potential of low-impact integration of this evidence-based program into the system should it be found to be efficacious.

This proposal unites two University of Washington School of Social Work entities, the Social Development Research Group and Partners for Our Children, a research group designed to conduct new thinking, resources, and expertise to improve the child welfare system, focusing its research on child welfare transformation. One innovative feature of this proposal is our strong collaboration with the Washington State Children’s Administration and the Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence, which will allow systems integration and dissemination should the program be efficacious.

Start Date: 2015
PI: Kevin P. Haggerty
Co-PI: Susan Barkan
Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Assessing the Needs of Parents Who Use Marijuana in Order to Ensure That
Current Parenting Interventions are Effective for Children of Marijuana Users

This study will build on previous research that shows that parents in legalized marijuana contexts are unsure how to discuss marijuana use with their children. Effective communication is a key element of successful parenting strategies to prevent youth substance use, including marijuana. Children of marijuana-using parents are at especially high risk and effective prevention programs are needed. This study will recruit 50 parents of teens who live in states with legalized marijuana and who use marijuana themselves. The project will conduct a needs assessment, including open- and closed-ended questions about how parents are currently communicating with their children, barriers to communication, parents' openness to participating in parenting interventions, and what supports are particularly necessary. The goal of this study is to develop recommendations for future adaptations of existing family-based preventive interventions.

Start Date: 2019
PI: Marina Epstein
Funding: Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington

Community Youth Development Study (CYDS)

The Community Youth Development Study began in 2003. It is a community randomized trial of the effectiveness of the Communities That Care (CTC) prevention system. CTC is designed to help communities promote healthy youth development and reduce levels of youth drug use, violence, delinquency, teenage pregnancy, and school dropout. CTC is a science-based, operating system for planning and managing prevention activities at the community level. It empowers a community coalition of stakeholders to collect and use community-specific data on risk and protective factors to guide the selection of tested and effective prevention programs that address the community’s needs.

The study involves 12 pairs of matched communities across seven states randomly assigned to either receive training and technical assistance to implement CTC or a control condition. Installation of CTC includes completion of five phases: 1) Get Started—assessing community readiness to undertake collaborative prevention efforts; 2) Get Organized—getting a commitment to the CTC process from community leaders and forming a diverse and representative prevention coalition; 3) Develop a Profile—using epidemiologic data to assess prevention needs and evaluating gaps in current services related to those needs; 4) Create a Plan—choosing tested and effective prevention policies, practices, and programs based on assessment data; and 5) Implement and Evaluate—implementing the new policies, programs and practices with fidelity, in a manner congruent with the program’s theory, content, and methods of delivery, and evaluating progress over time.

During the first five years, the project demonstrated that the CTC intervention was implemented with fidelity; levels of adopting a science-based approach to prevention were significantly higher in CTC than control communities; and more tested and effective preventive programs were selected and well implemented in the CTC communities. Risk factors targeted by CTC communities decreased through 8th grade significantly more so in intervention than control communities. Furthermore, CTC reduced the incidence and prevalence of adolescent tobacco and alcohol use and prevented delinquent behavior community wide in CTC communities compared with those in control communities among a panel of youth followed from grade 5 through grade 8. Cost-benefit analysis found that by preventing the initiation of cigarette smoking and delinquency in adolescence, CTC returns $5.30 for every dollar invested.

In 2008, SDRG was awarded continuation funding to study the sustainability of the CTC coalitions and prevention programs implemented, to monitor prevention efforts in the control communities, and to assess the long term effects of the CTC system on adolescent drug use, delinquency, and violence. The sustainability of CTC was examined 6 to 9 years after CTC’s initial installation in the 24 study communities and 1 to 4 years after study-provided technical assistance and resources had ended. This phase of the study found that levels of adoption of a science-based approach to prevention remained significantly higher in CTC than control communities. One year after study-provided resources ended targeted risk factors were still significantly lower when the panel of youth was in 10th grade. CTC also continued to reduce the incidence of delinquent behavior, alcohol use, and cigarette use and the prevalence of current cigarette use and past-year delinquent and violent behavior through 10th grade. At this point, 11 of the original 12 CTC coalitions were still active. Two years later, when communities had not received any support from the study for 3 years, 10 of the original 12 CTC coalitions were still active. CTC continued to prevent the initiation of delinquent and violent behavior, alcohol use, and cigarette use through 12th grade, but did not produce reductions in current levels of risk or current prevalence of problem behavior in Grade 12.

Start Date: 2003
PI: J. David Hawkins
Co-PI: Sabrina Oesterle
Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institute of Mental Health; National Cancer Institute; National Institute on Child Health and Human Development; Center for Substance Abuse Prevention; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Culture, Longitudinal Patterns, and Safety Promotion of Handgun Carrying Among Rural Adolescents:
Implications for Injury Prevention

This project aims to identify the contexts, antecedents, and consequences of handgun carrying among adolescents who live in rural communities in order to inform culturally appropriate and community-specific interventions. The study will focus on communities where high levels of firearm access and mortality, cultural influences, attitudes and risks associated with youth handgun carrying are understudied and underserved.

The project will use existing data and collect new data from rural adolescents to:
  • Identify opportunities and barriers in firearm injury prevention by improving our understanding of the cultural context of handgun carrying among rural adolescents.
  • Determine specific developmentally salient points of intervention by characterizing patterns of handgun carrying in rural communities from early adolescence to young adulthood.
  • Examine individual and social-developmental factors that distinguish patterns of handgun carrying in rural communities from early adolescence to young adulthood.
  • Test the effect of the Communities That Care prevention system on developmental patterns of handgun carrying among adolescents living in rural communities.
The goal of this study is to provide actionable evidence for informing strategies that can prevent firearm-related injury and promote safety among adolescents in rural communities.

The work will be conducted through a collaboration with investigators from the UW’s School of Public Health, the Social Development Research Group, Washington State University, Arizona State University, and Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Start Date: 2020
PI: Ail Rowhani-Rahbar
Co-PI: Kevin Haggerty, Margaret Kuklinski
Funding: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CYDS: Long-term Effects of CTC on Young Adults From Small Towns

In 2013, SDRG was awarded continuation funding to study the long-term effects of CTC 11 and 13 years following its initial installation during the randomized trial (CYDS). This continuation study assesses CTC’s effects on drug use, delinquency, violence, sexual risk behavior, and other health-risking behaviors during young adulthood (ages 21 and 23) in the panel of youth followed since fifth grade. It also examines the adoption of adult roles (including employment, military service, college attendance, romantic relationships, marriage, and parenthood) among these youths who grew up in small towns of varying degrees of rurality and how different pathways to adulthood may be associated with drug use, delinquency, violence, and other health-risking behaviors during this period of life.

Start Date: 2013
PI: Sabrina Oesterle; Margaret Kuklinksi
Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse


This study uses data from three existing SDRG projects (Seattle Social Development Project, Community Youth Development Study, and The Intergenerational Project) to examine key questions about e-cigarette use among adolescents, young adults, and adults, as well intergenerational transmission of e-cigarette use between parents and children. Recent public health reviews concluded that e-cigarettes represent a new public health concern because of their potential role in introducing previous nonsmokers, especially adolescents and young adults, to nicotine. There is additional concern that the marketing of e-cigarettes as a cessation aid may not be effective for cessation of tobacco use. Aims of the project include (a) examining risk and protective factors for e-cigarettes compared to conventional tobacco cigarettes; (b) testing whether e-cigarette use can lead to initiation of cigarette use among adolescents; (c) testing whether e-cigarette use can lead to a reduction in cigarette use or to complete cessation; and (d) exploring whether parent e-cigarette use poses a risk for children to initiate e-cigarette and other drug use over and above parent cigarette use. Findings from this study will yield viable targets for prevention of cigarette use initiation, as well as implications for policy and regulation of e-cigarettes.

Start Date: 2018
PI: Marina Epstein
Funding: National Cancer Institute


This collaboration with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Dartington Social Research Unit in Devon, UK will ultimately create a collaboration to develop a comprehensive systems and community change model to promote the positive development of children and families in disadvantaged urban communities. System and community change will be accomplished through assessment of system, community, and youth issues that interfere with healthy development, using evidence-based practices to address these identified needs. This project is envisioned as a three phase collaborative effort to explore the potential for creating a systems change model using the Communities That Care, Common Language, and Annie E. Casey approaches to community and system change. In Phase One, SDRG staff will provide information and training on their respective approaches to systems and community change and develop a logic model for the Casey new integrated model. Future phases will include developing the model, demonstrating the model in selected urban sites, and testing the model after revisions based on the demonstration.

Start Date: 2009
PI: Britton Steele
Funding: Annie E. Casey Foundation

International Youth Development Study (IYDS)

This three-year collaborative international project between the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington and the Center for Adolescent Health at the University of Melbourne investigates the impact of individual differences and context on alcohol use during late childhood and early adolescence. The International Youth Development Study (IYDS, R. F. Catalano, PI) collected data in 2002 from 5,769 students in three cohorts (approximately 1,000 students in Grades 5, 7, and 9) using matched procedures and recruitment of statewide representative samples in Washington State in the U.S. and Victoria, Australia. Each cohort was followed over 2 and 3 years (98% completion), resulting in a sample with an age span from 10 to 16 years. Student reports were supplemented with a parent telephone interview and three school administrator reports of the policy context of participants’ schools.

The current study uses existing IYDS data to examine similarities and differences in predictors of alcohol use, misuse, and other problems. A unique aspect of this study is the examination of school policy effects on student drug use. Analyses will yield new information on the local and cross-national influences associated with early adolescent alcohol use and symptoms of alcohol use disorders, enabling the cultural generalization of risk influences and alcohol consequences.

Start Date: 2008
PI: Jennifer Bailey
Co-PI: John W. Toumbourou (Australia)
Funding: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

National Training and Development Initiative
for Foster and Adoptive Parents

The goal of this project is to improve placement stability, permanency, and child and family well-being outcomes for children through the development and efficacy testing of a state-of-the-art training program that provides resource parents (foster, adoptive, and kinship) with the skills and tools needed to effectively parent children who have been exposed to trauma.

Start Date: 2017
PI: Kevin P. Haggerty
Funding: Spaulding Foundation; Administration for Children and Families - Children’s Bureau

Northwest Prevention Technology Transfer Center (NW PTTC)

This is an important collaboration between SDRG; the Prevention Science Graduate Program in the Washington State University Department of Human Development; and the University of Nevada, Reno, Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies, to specialize in community-activated prevention and advance the ability of the region's substance abuse prevention workforce to apply prevention science to identify, select, implement, and evaluate evidence-based interventions to reduce substance misuse. We will accomplish this purpose through achieving six goals:

1) Promote regional/local communication and collaboration to build/maintain effective relationships with key stakeholders;

2) Enhance training and technical assistance (TTA) services to professionals on topics identified through regional workforce needs assessments;

3) Maximize impact and avoid duplication of efforts by collaborating with the PTTC National Coordinating Center, other Regional PTTCs, the Tribal Affairs Center, the Hispanic/Latino Center, and other related Health and Human Services training centers by leveraging expertise, sharing regionally developed resources, and coordinating TTC services;

4) Improve prevention professionals' knowledge of prevention science and skills by providing a spectrum of innovative TTA events (e.g., web-based sequenced learning and consultation; online and in-person Communities of Practice (CoPs); group or individual telephone consultation; and onsite consultation);

5) Strengthen Region 10's prevention workforce capacity by: a) training new leaders through leadership development events focused on prevention science, systems integration/practice change, and community activation, and implementing/adopting evidence-based interventions/programs (EBI/Ps); and b) training college/university students in prevention science, public health, social work, and related fields to be proficient in prevention science, ensuring the pipeline of new leaders and prevention professionals is well prepared;

6) Evaluate the impact and effectiveness of PNW PTTC services by collecting Government Performance and Results performance measure data and evaluating improvements in implementation and sustainability of EBI/Ps.

Start Date: 2018
PI: Kevin P. Haggerty
Funding: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Pilot Implementation of the Communities That Care
Prevention System in Chile

This project consists of an international collaboration to adapt and implement the Communities That Care (CTC) prevention system in three low-income communities in Chile. It includes research teams from the U.S. (including the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington, the Division of Prevention Science and Community Health at the University of Miami, and Five-Town Communities That Care in Maine), Colombia (the Nuevos Rumbos Corporation), and Chile (the Fundación San Carlos de Maipo and the Fundación Paz Ciudadana).

The study consists of multiple components, including the adaptation and implementation of the adapted model; analysis and dissemination of school- and community-level risk, protection, and behavior outcome data; delivery of CTC trainings and technical assistance; assessment and monitoring of implementation fidelity; and identification of evidence-based Spanish-language prevention programs relevant for the Chilean context and the targeted outcomes.

Start Date: 2014
PI: Nicole Eisenberg
Funding: Fundación San Carlos de Maipo, in Chile

Raising Healthy Children Through Communities That Care

This project is developing a book that will weave together stories and science to tell what we know about the development of aggression and violence, drug abuse and teen pregnancy, and how families, schools and communities can prevent these problems and promote healthy development. This book will describe what community leaders can do to reinvent their communities as healthy environments for human development.

Start Date: 1998
PI: J. David Hawkins
Funding: Bruce and Jolene McCaw Foundation

Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP)

SSDP began in 1981 to test strategies for reducing childhood risk factors for school failure, drug abuse, and delinquency. First graders in five Seattle schools were assigned to intervention or control classrooms. Each year through the elementary grades parents and teachers in intervention classrooms learned how to actively engage children in learning, strengthen bonding to family and school, and encourage children's positive behaviors. In 1985, when the original first graders entered the fifth grade, the panel was expanded to 808 students from 18 Seattle elementary schools. These participants and their parents have been interviewed regularly since 1985.

The study has produced important findings on the development of alcohol abuse and dependence, on risk factors for school dropout, violence and gang membership, and on long term effects of preventive intervention in the elementary grades. The Seattle Social Development Project has generated many studies drawing on the same panel of participants.

Start Date: 1981
PI: Jennifer Bailey
Co-PI: Rick Kosterman
Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse; Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; National Institute of Mental Health; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Burlington Northern Foundation; Safeco Insurance Company.

SSDP-TIP - The Intergenerational Project

The SSDP Intergenerational Project is an ongoing longitudinal study, started in 2000, of the children of the members of the Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP) panel. TIP is a theory-driven study, based on the Social Development Model, that examines the effects and mechanisms of action of parental and grandparental drug use on child development. The study presents a unique opportunity to examine the factors linking drug use across multiple generations and to understand the effects of current and past parental and grandparental drug use on children’s development, behavior, and drug use initiation. Although the study is funded by NIDA, and the aims center around drug use, we have crafted the design to be broader in its assessment package using a multi-informant (parent, child, teacher), multimodal (interview; parent-child observation; neurocognitive assessment; etc.), systems-oriented approach. We collected 4 waves of data in an earlier phase of the study, and have been renewed for another five years to add additional 3 waves of data and to conduct analyses. Most of the children in the first 3 waves were under 10 yrs. In the renewal most will move into adolescence.

Start Date: 2000
PI: Karl G. Hill
Project Director: Jennifer A. Bailey
Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse

SSDP-TIP - Cannabis Legalization: Youth Substance Use,
Conduct Problems, and HIV Risk Behavior

This study examines links between the legalization of marijuana for adults ages 21 or over in Washington State and patterns of marijuana use and related risk behaviors (other drug use, conduct problems, HIV sexual risk behavior) among youth. It also examines links between marijuana legalization for adults and changes in risk factors for youth marijuana use, including youth attitudes; parent marijuana and other drug use and attitudes; parenting practices; perceived peer, sibling, and romantic partner use and attitudes; and marijuana availability. The proposed project is uniquely suited to address these goals. It builds on the Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP) Intergenerational Project (TIP), a study that uses an accelerated longitudinal design, and aims to understand the effects of parent substance use on child development (n = 383 families, 80% living in Washington). TIP includes parents drawn from a prior longitudinal panel study (SSDP), their oldest biological child, and a second caregiver when available. TIP collected recent (2010) pre-legalization data, setting the stage for an evaluation of this important policy shift. Available pre-legalization youth data span ages 1 - 22 and parent data span ages 27 - 35 (2002 - 2010, 7 assessments). The proposed study will add 3 additional annual data collections post-legalization in 2015, 2016, and 2017 with parents, youth, and second caregivers. This study will be one of the first to test links between marijuana legalization for adults and youth marijuana use and related risk behavior. The accelerated longitudinal design will enable the disentangling of development and history (policy change), and will facilitate understanding about the intersection of marijuana legalization and development.

Start Date: 2015
PI: Jennifer A. Bailey
Project Director: Marina Epstein
Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse

PI: Jennifer Bailey

The Young Adult Study

This project will examine the impact of a 12.5-year-long, relationship-based, professional mentoring program, Friends of the Children (FOTC), within the context of an existing multisite randomized controlled trial (RCT; FOTC versus control). The research trial (The Child Study) was funded by the National Institutes of Health through the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development from 2007-2013. The study uses a rigorous RCT design that includes two assessments of all of the active participants in The Child Study, a sample of low-income, ethnically diverse, at-risk, urban youth. SDRG will also collect data from caregivers and administrative staff from schools, and other records at the endpoint. Implementation data collected by FOTC will also be used in the analysis. Using intent-to-treat analyses, this study will examine program impacts in three primary outcomes—avoidance of involvement in juvenile justice, graduation from high school or obtaining a GED, and delaying parenthood into young adulthood, at the program endpoint and 2 years later. We will explore whether hypothesized mechanisms of increased social capital mediate the relationships between intervention and outcomes. We will also examine the relationship between various levels of program involvement in FOTC and program impact.

Start Date: 2020
PI: Kevin P. Haggerty and J. Mark Eddy
Project Director: Martie Skinner
Funding: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Using SMART Design to Identify an Effective and Cost-Beneficial Approach to
Preventing Opioid Use Disorder in Justice-Involved Youth

The study targets the epidemic of problem of opioid use disorder (OUD) among adolescents and young adults. It focuses on an underserved population with particularly high risks for and rates of OUD: adolescents and young adults in justice settings, who, according to some studies, have OUD rates of 20%. To reduce opioid use initiation and escalation to OUD, the study will implement and test the effectiveness of interventions of varying intensity that fall under the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach with Assertive Continuing Care (ACRA/ACC) framework

Start Date: 2019
PI: Kym Ahrens
Co-PI: Kevin P. Haggerty
Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse

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