SDRG Projects

Search Projects: Current Projects | Prior Research | by Investigator


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; Drs. Kevin P. Haggerty and Richard F. Catalano, along with other SDRG staff will be working with WSU on the study.

Start Date: 2017
Subcontract PI: Laura Hill
Co-PI: Haggerty & Catalano (Subcontract PIs)
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

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
Project Director: 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

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
Co-PI: J. David Hawkins
Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Effects of Child Maltreatment on Antisocial Behavior

This is a secondary data analysis project that seeks to replicate and extend published research findings on the combined and unique effects on antisocial behavior, crime, and adulthood interpersonal violence perpetration and victimization of differing forms of child maltreatment and childhood exposure to domestic violence, subsequent forms of victimization, and stress. The study also investigates patterns of resilience in maltreated children and predictors of desistence in antisocial behavior for maltreated and multiply victimized children. Data are from the Lehigh Longitudinal Study, a unique prospective investigation of the causes and consequences of child maltreatment, which began in the 1970s when children in the study were 18 months to six years of age. Data were most recently collected in 2008-2010, when children had entered middle adulthood.

Start Date: 2013
PI: Todd I. Herrenkohl
Funding: National Institute of Justice

Effects of Child Maltreatment on
Adult Substance Use and Mental Health

This is a secondary data analysis project that focuses on the long-term effects of child maltreatment and other forms of family adversity on adult substance use behaviors and mental health problems. Data are from the Lehigh Longitudinal Study, a unique prospective investigation of the causes and consequences of child maltreatment, which began in the 1970s when children in the study were 18 months to six years of age. Data were most recently collected in 2008-2010, when children had entered middle adulthood. Goals of the current project are to study the combined and unique effects of differing forms of child abuse (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse), neglect, and childhood exposure to domestic violence on outcomes of tobacco use, binge drinking, marijuana use, and substance abuse risk in adulthood; depression and anxiety symptoms; and co-occurring adult disorders. Analyses will also investigate patterns of cumulative victimization and adulthood stresses, as they impact adulthood functioning. Another very important aspect of this work focuses on resilience and sources of protection for individuals with abuse histories. A focus on gender differences in predictors, processes, and outcomes of child abuse is also included in the goals of the current project. Findings that emerge from this work are critical to service providers and policy makers who focus on vulnerable populations.

Start Date: 2012
PI: Todd I. Herrenkohl
Funding: Current funding is provided by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. Other recent funding has come from grants from the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, the Office of Behavioral Social Sciences and Research, and the Centers for Disease Control Prevention.

Evidence2Success

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: Richard F. Catalano
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: Richard F. Catalano
Co-PI: John W. Toumbourou (Australia)
Funding: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Keeping Families Together Pilot Study

The Keeping Families Together (KFT) pilot study is evaluating an adaptation of the Communities That Care community mobilization model. The study is assessing whether this adapted approach will lead to improvements in child well-being and reductions in child-related problems including abuse and neglect in families with children aged 0 to 10. This pilot is taking place in two communities in Oregon.

Start Date: 2014
PI: Richard F. Catalano
Project Director: Amy M. Salazar
Funding: The Keeping Families Together Initiative is a partnership of Casey Family Programs, Oregon Department of Human Services, and the Children's Trust Fund of Oregon with additional funding from Oregon Community Foundation and the Ford Family Foundation

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: Karl G. Hill
Co-PI: Rick Kosterman
Project Director: Jennifer A. Bailey
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.
Website: http://ssdp-tip.org

SSDP - Effects of Marijuana Legalization in Washington State on
Norms, Use and Parenting

The goal of this study is to investigate marijuana legalization in Washington State and its association with changes in marijuana norms, patterns of marijuana use, and use of other substances. The study examines the moderating role of environmental factors and adult functioning, and assesses marijuana-specific parenting behaviors in order to inform prevention efforts. The study augments data from a Seattle-based longitudinal cohort with new marijuana-focused measures at age 39.

Start Date: 2013
PI: Rick Kosterman
Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse

SSDP - Environmental Mechanisms for Health, Drug Abuse,
and HIV Risk Behavior In The 30s

This study investigates the interrelationships among physical health (including increasing rates of obesity), mental health, drug abuse, and HIV risk in the 30s by augmenting data from the Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP). The study examines the health effects of two broad environmental domains: the social environment – defined by social interactions and developmental experiences hypothesized to affect health through positive adult functioning (in marriage, parenthood, career, community, etc.); and the built environment – defined by a neighborhood’s physical features hypothesized to affect health through physical activity. The diverse sample also provides an opportunity to investigate environmental factors and mechanisms that can explain disparities in health, drug abuse, and HIV risk outcomes by gender, ethnicity, and economic status. New objective measures of the built environment, physical activity, and health outcomes at age 39 are added to 14 waves of prospective data from age 10 through age 35. Our goal is to understand the mechanisms linking social and built environments to interrelated health problems, drug abuse, and HIV sexual risk behavior in the 30s, and the contribution of these mechanisms to explaining health disparities.

Start Date: 2013
PI: Rick Kosterman
Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Website: http://ssdp-tip.org

SSDP - Gene-Environment Interplay in the Development of Addiction

Tobacco and alcohol abuse and dependence are leading preventable causes of disease and death in the United States. Vulnerability to develop tobacco and alcohol dependence and comorbid problems is influenced by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. This two year grant will allow the Seattle Social Development Project to proceed with collecting and analyzing genetic information on the SSDP sample, and begins a program study on how genes and environment work together in affecting the development of tobacco and alcohol addiction in adulthood. Co-investigators include Jennifer Bailey, David Hawkins and Richard Catalano (UW, SSW) and they are joined by collaborators Matt McQueen and John Hewitt at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics (UC Boulder).

Start Date: 2009
PI: Karl G. Hill
Project Director: Jennifer A. Bailey
Funding: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Website: http://ssdp-tip.org

SSDP - Understanding Alcohol Misuse, Abuse
and Dependence in Young Adulthood

This study is examining the occurrence and course of binge drinking, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence in young adulthood (ages 21 to 30) in the Seattle Social Development Project panel. The study seeks to understand the relationship between childhood and adolescent patterns of alcohol use and young adult binge drinking, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence through age 33, and the role of social-developmental factors in influencing these patterns. The study will provide information of use to those designing preventive and treatment interventions for alcohol misuse, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. Co-investigators include Jennifer Bailey, David Hawkins and Richard Catalano, and they are joined by Jennifer Maggs of Penn State University.

Start Date: 2008
PI: Karl G. Hill
Project Director: Jennifer A. Bailey
Funding: Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

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
Website: http://ssdp-tip.org


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



YouthPower - Making Cents International Evidence and Evaluation

Making Cents International was selected by USAID to be a prime contractor for the five-year Youth Power: Evidence and Evaluation IDIQ, which has an overall ceiling of $72 million. This initiative, jointly funded by USAID’s Bureau for Global Health (GH) and U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3); and Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA), will provide USAID with expert research and evaluation of youth programming and will facilitate technical leadership and dissemination of knowledge in the field of positive youth development (PYD).

The Social Development Research Group is part of an impressive team of partners that include the International Center for Research on Women, Development & Training Services, Results for Development Institute, Khulisa Management Services, Royal Children’s Hospital Academic Centre at the University of Melbourne, Child Protection in Crisis Network at Columbia University, Young Americas Business Trust, and the India-based YP Foundation.

Making Cents was also selected to implement Task Order 1 under the YouthPower: Evidence and Evaluation IDIQ, with a ceiling of $21.7 million. The work under this Task Order will help USAID to transform its youth in development investments from single-sector, problem-focused responses towards cross-sectoral PYD investments that help countries support youth in reaching their full potential. To achieve this goal, the Making Cents team will implement the following activities:
  • Develop a user-friendly and sustainable YouthPower website that uses the latest technology to enhance sharing and dissemination of knowledge and lessons learned about PYD and serves as the Learning Hub for cross-sectoral youth development.
  • Develop an inclusive, audience-specific, and demand-driven cross-sectoral Youth Learning Network and communities of practice that will improve knowledge, skills, practices, and partnerships around international cross-sectoral PYD
  • Design an indicator reporting system that will bridge gaps across sectors, establish common measures, promote learning, and contribute to a comprehensive PYD framework
  • Produce the definitive global meta-review of PYD literature that expands upon the existing evidence base
  • Provide evidence and evaluation support to USAID Missions and operating units, as needed, through evaluation and research technical assistance


Start Date: 2015
PI: Richard F. Catalano
Funding: USAID


© 2012, Social Development Research Group