Effectiveness of School-Based Mental Health Services for Children: A 10-Year Research Review
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A review of the literature from 1985 to 1995 on school-based mental health services for children was conducted using a computerized data-base search. Of the 5,046 references initially identified, 228 were program evaluations. Three inclusion criteria were applied to those studies: use of random assignment to the intervention; inclusion of a control group; and use of standardized outcome measures. Only 16 studies met these criteria. Three types of interventions were found to have empirical support for their effectiveness, although some of the evidence was mixed: cognitive-behavioral therapy, social skills training, and teacher consultation. The studies are discussed with reference to the sample, targeted problem, implementation, and types of outcomes assessed, using a comprehensive model of outcome domains, called the SFCES model. Future studies of school-based mental health services should (a) investigate the effectiveness of these interventions with a wider range of children's psychiatric disorders; (b) broaden the range of outcomes to include variables related to service placements and family perspectives; (c) examine the combined effectiveness of these empirically-validated interventions; and (d) evaluate the impact of these services when linked to home-based interventions.
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