Fast Track intervention effects on youth arrests and delinquency
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This paper examines the effects of the Fast Track preventive intervention on youth arrests and self-reported delinquent behavior through age 19. High-risk youth randomly assigned to receive a long-term, comprehensive preventive intervention from 1st grade through 10th grade at four sites were compared to high-risk control youth. Findings indicated that random assignment to Fast Track reduced court-recorded juvenile arrest activity based on a severity weighted sum of juvenile arrests. Supplementary analyses revealed an intervention effect on the reduction in the number of court-recorded moderate-severity juvenile arrests, relative to control children. In addition, among youth with higher initial behavioral risk, the intervention reduced the number of high-severity adult arrests relative to the control youth. Survival analyses examining the onset of arrests and delinquent behavior revealed a similar pattern of findings. Intervention decreased the probability of any juvenile arrest among intervention youth not previously arrested. In addition, intervention decreased the probability of a self-reported high-severity offense among youth with no previous self-reported high-severity offense. Intervention effects were also evident on the onset of high-severity court-recorded adult arrests among participants, but these effects varied by site. The current findings suggest that comprehensive preventive intervention can prevent juvenile arrest rates, although the presence and nature of intervention effects differs by outcome.
KeywordsPrevention Arrests Delinquency Longitudinal Juveniles
Drs. Bierman, Coie, Dodge, Greenberg, Lochman, and McMahon are the developers of the Fast Track curriculum and have a publishing agreement with Oxford University Press. Dr. Greenberg is an author on the PATHS curriculum and has a royalty agreement with Channing-Bete, Inc. Dr. Greenberg is a principal in PATHS Training, LLC. Dr. McMahon is a coauthor of Helping the Noncompliant Child and has a royalty agreement with Guilford Publications, Inc.; he is also a member of the Treatments That Work Scientific Advisory Board with Oxford University Press. The other authors have no financial relationships to disclose.
Karen L. Bierman, Ph.D.
is a distinguished professor of child-clinical psychology and director of the Child Study Center at The Pennsylvania State University. Her research program focuses on social-emotional development and children at risk, with an emphasis on the design and evaluation of school- and community-based programs that promote social competence, school readiness, positive intergroup relations, and that reduce aggression and violence. Dr. Bierman served as the principal investigator for the Pennsylvania site of the Fast Track Program.
John D. Coie, Ph.D.
is Professor Emeritus in Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. He has studied the development of antisocial behavior and children’s relations with peers. He continues to be interested in prevention of antisocial behavior and disorder and the promotion of children’s competence in community settings.
Kenneth A. Dodge, Ph.D.
is the William McDougall Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University. He studies the development and prevention of violence in children and families.
Mark T. Greenberg, Ph.D.
is the Bennett Chair of Prevention Research and Director of the Prevention Research Center at Pennsylvania State University. He studies developmental processes and interventions focused on improving the competence of children and families.
John E. Lochman, Ph.D., ABPP
is Professor and Doddridge Saxon Chairholder in Clinical Psychology at The University of Alabama, and he directs the Center for Prevention of Youth Behavior Problems. His research examines social and social-cognitive risk factors related to children’s aggressive behavior, examines intervention efficacy, and examines variables that affect the dissemination of interventions in real-world settings.
Robert J. McMahon, Ph.D.
is Professor and Director of the Child Clinical Psychology Program in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington. His primary research and clinical interests concern the development, assessment, treatment, and prevention of conduct problems and other problem behavior in youth, especially in the context of the family. Dr. McMahon served as the principal investigator for the Seattle site of the Fast Track Program.
Ellen E. Pinderhughes, Ph.D.
is Associate Professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University. Her research examines family socialization processes among children and youth at-risk for problems in their development.
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