American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 463-482

First online:

Core Elements of Developmental Epidemiologically Based Prevention Research

  • Sheppard G. KellamAffiliated withJohns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health Johns Hopkins University, Prevention Research Center, Baltimore, Maryland
  • , Doreen KoretzAffiliated withNational Institute of Mental Health
  • , Eve K. MościckiAffiliated withNational Institute of Mental Health

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In the early 1990's, important progress was documented in prevention research on mental and behavioral disorders, with recommendations for a prevention research agenda. One of the earliest implementation efforts was the workshop, “A Scientific Structure for the Emerging Field of Prevention Research,” sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health and The Johns Hopkins University Prevention Research Center, and held in Baltimore, Maryland, in December of 1994. The purpose of the workshop was to merge three perspectives from the traditionally disparate areas of epidemiology, life course development, and intervention trials technology into an integrated, interdisciplinary effort that would define a scientific structure enabling rapid advancement in prevention science. As a consequence of that workshop, the papers were written that are contained in this and the next special issue on prevention of the American Journal of Community Psychology. This first paper is a description of the salient features of developmental epidemiologically-based prevention research. Beyond the above three perspectives, we discuss the role of developmental and intervention theories; measurement of implementation, mediators, and moderators, including multi-stage sampling and measurement; the central role of multilevel growth modeling; concepts of attributable risk and prevented fraction; proximal/distal modeling and effect sizes; and partnerships between researchers and communities.

development epidemiology prevention research