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Effects of Positive Action on the Emotional Health of Urban Youth: A Cluster-Randomized Trial Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/articles/9s1617879

This is an author's peer-reviewed final manuscript, as accepted by the publisher. The published article is copyrighted by Elsevier and can be found at:  http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-adolescent-health/.

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  • PURPOSE—We examined the effects of Positive Action (PA), a school-based social-emotional learning and health promotion program, on the emotional health of predominately low-income and ethnic minority urban youth. METHODS—The study was a matched-pair, cluster-randomized controlled trial involving 14 Chicago public schools. Outcomes were assessed over a 6-year period of program implementation for a cohort of youth in each school, followed from grades 3 to 8. Youth reported on their emotional health (positive affect, life satisfaction, depression, anxiety) and social-emotional and character development. Growth-curve and structural-equation modeling analyses assessed overall program effects on the emotional health outcomes as well as mediation of these effects via the program’s impact on youths’ social-emotional and character development. RESULTS—Students in PA schools, compared to those in control schools, had more favorable change over the course of the study in positive affect (standardized mean difference effect size [ES] = .17) and life satisfaction (ES = .13) as well as significantly lower depression (ES = -.14) and anxiety (ES = -.26) at study end point. Program effects for positive affect, depression, and anxiety were mediated by more favorable change over time in social-emotional and character development for students in PA schools. CONCLUSIONS—Results suggest that universal, school-based programs can benefit the emotional health of youth in low-income, urban settings. The modest magnitude of effects over an extended period of program implementation, however, reflects the challenges of both mounting interventions and offsetting formidable risks for mental health problems in such environments.
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  • Lewis, K. M., Dubois, D. L., Bavarian, N., Acock, A., Silverthorn, N., Day, J., . . . Flay, B. R. (2013). Effects of positive action on the emotional health of urban youth: A cluster-randomized trial. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(6), 706-711. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.06.012
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  • 53
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  • 6
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  • This project was funded by grants from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), US Department of Education: R305L030072, R305L030004 and R305A080253 to the University of Illinois at Chicago (2003-05) and Oregon State University (2005-12); preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (T32 AA014125). The Social And Character Development (SACD) Research Program was a collaboration among IES, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Violence Prevention, Mathematica Policy Research Inc. (MPR), and awardees of SACD cooperative agreements (Children’s Institute, New York University, Oregon State University, University at Buffalo-SUNY, University of Maryland, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Vanderbilt University).
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