Program

May 21, 2015

OVERVIEW

The Raising Healthy Children (RHC) program is a six-year, multi-element, multi-tiered, school-based program that aims to increase academic success and reduce adolescent antisocial behavior. Based on the Social Development Model (Catalano & Hawkins, 1996), this program seeks to increase protective factors such as opportunities for prosocial involvement and decrease risk factors such as exposure to antisocial behaviors.

The program had a significant impact on frequency of alcohol use and marijuana use 18 months after baseline. No impacts were found for the frequency of cigarette use, however. One evaluation showed that RHC students had significantly higher teacher-reported academic performance and stronger commitment to school than students who did not receive the intervention. A mixed impact was found for antisocial behaviors. The program had no significant impact on antisocial behaviors as an outcome measured with self-report, but did with teacher-report.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: First and second-grade students.

The Raising Healthy Children (RHC) program is a six-year, multi-element, multi-tiered, school-based program that seeks to increase academic success and reduce adolescent antisocial behavior by increasing protective factors and reducing risk factors occurring in family, school, peer, and individual domains.

Targeted protective factors include: bonding to prosocial peers and school, prosocial values and norms, school involvement, family involvement, and rewarding positive behaviors. Targeted risk factors include ineffective family management practices and family conflict. The RCH program is a multi-tiered program because it includes strategies for all students, as well as more targeted and intensive strategies for high-risk students.

RHC includes four main elements:

  • Universal classroom intervention: Based on the Interpersonal Cognitive Problem Solving (ICPS) curriculum, this component seeks to build problem solving, conflict resolution, and communication skills. School-Home Coordinators implement the skills training intervention, and teachers use various instructional and classroom management strategies to reinforce cooperative learning and good behavior. Summer camps and study groups are also implemented. The dosage of the classroom intervention varies.
  • Teacher training: This component includes a series of workshops for teachers on effective instructional and classroom management strategies (such as proactive classroom management, cooperative learning methods, and reading strategies) and on developmentally appropriate interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Teachers receive coaching and have the opportunity to observe other teachers.
  • Universal family group sessions: This component includes multifamily group sessions addressing topics related to family management skills and in-home problem solving. Five group sessions are offered to all families.
  • In-home services for high-risk families: School-Home Coordinators (described as “teachers or specialists with experience providing services to parents and families”) provide in-home, case management services to families with children referred for conduct problems.

On average the cost per teacher for the first and second year of training and coaching is roughly $950.The third year costs $500. This includes training, travel and materials for each year.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Study 1: Fleming, C. B., Harachi T. W., Catalano R. F., Haggerty K. P., & Abbott R.D. (2001). Assessing the effects of a school-based intervention on unscheduled school transfers during elementary school. Evaluation Review, 25, 655-679.

Evaluated population: The sample included 891 students from nine out of the ten original elementary schools. The sample was 46 percent female; 82 percent white, seven percent Asian, four percent African American, four percent Hispanic and three percent Native American.

Approach: Ten schools were randomly assigned to the experimental or control condition. School district administrative data from February 1994 (the start of the intervention) to June 1998 (the end, in the project’s fifth year) were analyzed for this study. The school provides dates of transfer that were used to calculate number of unscheduled school transfers. Such transfers occurred from the start of February 1994 and February 1998. Measures of antisocial behavior were reported by teachers with the Child Behavior Checklist. Parent satisfaction with the child’s school was measured. Parents also reported on having moved in the 12 months prior to the four survey administration times.

Results: Within the first five years of the project, students participating in the program had fewer unscheduled school transfers than control group students (45 versus 61 percent). Before the intervention, experimental schools had lower rates compared with control schools, but there was still a significant association between transfer rate and experimental condition after controlling for this.

Study 2: Catalano, R. F., Mazza, J. J., Harachi, T. W., Abbott, R. D., Haggerty, K. P., & Fleming, C. B. (2003). Raising Healthy Children through enhancing social development in elementary school: Results after 1.5 years. Journal of School Psychology, 41(2), 143-164.

Evaluated population: First- and second-grade students (N=938) from 10 suburban, public schools were evaluated. The sample was 82% European American, 7.4% Asian/Pacific Islander, 3% African American, 3.9% Hispanic or Latino, 3.3% Native American, and 0.4% Other. The mean age of the sample was 7.43 years old.

Approach: See Study 1 for randomization methods. Data were collected four times during the 18-month period: during the fall and spring of year 1 (with fall being the baseline), and during the fall and spring of year 2. Academic performance, academic commitment, social competence, and antisocial behavior were assessed via teacher- and parent-rated checklists and child self-report measures. Parents also completed telephone interviews and checklists containing questions about their child’s behavior as well as family dynamics, parenting issues, and adult behaviors.

Results: Intervention students received significantly higher teacher ratings of social competence (with a small-to-medium effect size of d=0.25 calculated for the difference in means) and significantly lower teacher ratings of antisocial behavior (with a small effect size of d=-0.20 calculated for the difference in means) than control group students. Also, compared with control group students, RHC students had significantly higher teacher- and parent-reported academic performance and commitment to school. Child self-report data on antisocial behavior and social competency did not show impacts.

Study 3: Brown, E. C., Catalano, R. F., Fleming, C. B., Haggerty, K. P., & Abbott, R. D. (2005). Adolescent substance use outcomes in the Raising Healthy Children Project: A two-part latent growth curve analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 699-710.

Evaluated Population: Sixth- through ninth-grade students were evaluated (N=959). The sample was 82% European American, 7% Asian/Pacific Islander, 4% African American, 4% Hispanic or Latino, and 3% Native American. The mean age of the students at the beginning of the study was 7.7 years old (SD=0.06). About 28% of the sample represented low-income households.

Approach: See Study 1 for randomization methods. Self-reported alcohol, marijuana, and cigarette use during the previous year and previous month were obtained via in-person, telephone, or mail-in surveys. In year 7 (grade 9 and 10), surveys were self-administered using a computer-assisted interviewing device.

Note: Researchers did not adjust for the effects of clustered data.

Results: The intervention did not affect the growth rate for alcohol or marijuana use, but it did appear to have a moderate impact on the frequency of alcohol use (ES=0.40) and marijuana use (ES=0.52). No impacts were found for the growth rate or frequency of cigarette use.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Website: http://www.sdrg.org/rhcsummary.asp#3

References

Brown, E. C., Catalano, R. F., Fleming, C. B., Haggerty, K. P., & Abbott, R. D., & (2005). Adolescent substance use outcomes in the Raising Healthy Children Project: A two-part latent growth curve analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 699-710.

Catalano, R. F., Mazza, J. J., Harachi, T. W., Abbott, R. D., Haggerty, K. P., & Fleming, C. B. (2003). Raising healthy children through enhancing social development in elementary school: Results after 1.5 years. Seattle: University of Washington, Social Development Research Group.

Fleming, C. B., Harachi T. W., Catalano R. F., Haggerty K. P., & Abbott R.D. (2001). Assessing the effects of a school-based intervention on unscheduled school transfers during elementary school. Evaluation Review, 25, 655-679.

Program categorized in this guide according to the following:

Evaluated participant ages: 7-15.

Program components: provider-based; home visiting; parent or family component

Measured outcomes: life skills

KEYWORDS: Children (3-11); Elementary, School-based, Clinic/Provider-based, Parent/Family Component, Home Visitation, Summer Program, Social Skills/Life Skills, Tobacco Use, Alcohol Use, Marijuana/Illicit Prescription Drugs, Aggression/Bullying, Behavioral Problems, Academic Achievement/Grades, Academic Motivation/Self-Concept/Expectations/Engagement

Program information last updated 5/21/15.

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