, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 83-94

Early Elementary School Intervention to Reduce Conduct Problems: A Randomized Trial with Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Children

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Abstract

Children's aggressive behavior and reading difficulties during early elementary school years are risk factors for adolescent problem behaviors such as delinquency, academic failure, and substance use. This study determined if a comprehensive intervention that was designed to address both of these risk factors could affect teacher, parent, and observer measures of internalizing and externalizing problems. European American (n = 116) and Hispanic (n = 168) children from 3 communities who were selected for aggressiveness or reading difficulties were randomly assigned to an intervention or no-intervention control condition. Intervention families received parent training, and their children received social behavior interventions and supplementary reading instruction over a 2-year period. At the end of intervention, playground observations showed that treated children displayed less negative social behavior than controls. At the end of a 1-year follow-up, treated children showed less teacher-rated internalizing and less parent-rated coercive and antisocial behavior than controls. The study's limitations and implications for prevention are discussed.