Collaborations and Communication: A School-Based Depression Prevention & Intervention Program

Depression is a common problem among adolescents. The average age for a first onset of depression is 15, and about 20 percent of teens will have experienced significant depressive symptoms by the time they are 18. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents in the U.S. Research indicates that 16 percent of U.S. adolescents report seriously considering suicide in a one-year period, and eight percent of U.S. adolescents report making a suicide attempt. Studies have found that more than 50 percent of adolescents who committed suicide had a mood disorder at the time. Building on her ongoing depression prevention and intervention work with adolescents, Gladstone and her clinical research team are working with two Greater Boston towns to pilot in-school screenings.

Talking About Sex: Extended Family As Educators and Allies

Jennifer Grossman, Ph.D., is currently principal investigator of an R21 award from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)—Adolescent Communication with Family and Reproductive Health, which includes the first comprehensive assessment of teens’ sexuality communication with extended family and its associations with sexual behavior as well as an exploration of extended family approaches to talking with teens about sex. Grossman is also principal investigator of an R03 award from NICHD—Risk Behaviors Among Offspring of Teen Parents: Effects of Parenting on the Next Generation, which addresses the potential of maternal and paternal parenting to reduce the high risk of early sex and teen pregnancy for offspring of teen parents. (The R21 grant mechanism is intended to encourage exploratory/developmental research by providing support for the early and conceptual stages of project development. The R03 grant mechanism supports small research projects that can be carried out in a short period of time with limited resources.)

Advancing Early Childhood Care and Education Policy in the U.S.

While not always a pressing domestic priority for all Americans, early childhood care and education (ECCE) for young children has been in the forefront for many working families for decades. In order to work or go to school or training, parents need someone to watch their young children before they are old enough to go to school. Sixty-one percent of children under the age of five are in some type of regular ECCE arrangement, and ECEE serves dual purposes. It not only allows parents to be employed or be in school or training, it also helps prepare children for school and academic success—this is especially true for children from families with low incomes. Even quality afterschool care or out-of-school-time care for school-age children can be hard to obtain. Finding the kind of care mothers and fathers want for their children and then learning they can’t afford it has broken many parents’ hearts and budgets. What are they to do? 

National Afterschool Matters 2017-2019 Fellowship Begins

The National Afterschool Matters Fellowship (NASM) launched its second national cohort of fellows in late September, bringing together 25 dedicated out-of-school-time (OST) and youth development professionals selected through a competitive application process. Over two years, the fellows will engage in reflection, inquiry, and writing activities that position them to inform and contribute to the quality of programs, practice, and the broader field.

Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development awarded Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D, research associate at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), a $100,000 pilot grant to study parent and peer influences on social media use in early adolescence as well as the implications for psychosocial and behavioral health. Working with co-principal investigator Megan Moreno, M.D., M.P.H., academic division chief in General Pediatrics/Adolescent Medicine, and vice chair of Digital Health at the Children’s Hospital at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Charmaraman will collect data from middle school youth and their parents in the Greater Boston area. The primary objectives of this one-year study are to: (1) investigate the developmental processes of social media use during the pubertal transition to adolescence, highlighting factors that are likely to have explanatory power in understanding the relationships between social media use, social context, and psychosocial and behavioral health; (2) use multiple reporters on adolescent social media use in a mixed-method design utilizing matched parent-to-student survey and student social media site data; and (3) build theory on mechanisms for how, when, and why early initiation into social technologies co-occurs with behavioral health outcomes, moderated by peer and family influences.

Open Circle, provider of a unique, evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum and professional development for kindergarten through Grade 5, recently announced that Kamilah Drummond-Forrester, M.A., has been promoted to director.

The Ho-Chunk Nation is proud to report that it has grown its SEED program over the past five years, building from two original SEED-trained facilitators to 15, increasing annual participants from eight to 15, and having led more than 100 individuals through the SEED program in total.

Sexual Violence Prevention Tools

Linda Williams, Ph.D., co-authored “Multiple Sexual Violence Prevention Tools: Doses and Boosters,” (Potter, S.; Banyard, V.; Cares, A.; Williams, L.; Moynihan, M.; Stapleton, J.) for the Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research (in press). Sexual violence prevention programs on college campuses have proliferated in recent years. While research has also increased, a number of questions remain unanswered that could assist campus administrators in making evidence-based decisions about implementation of prevention efforts. To that end, the field of prevention science has highlighted the need to examine the utility of booster sessions for enhancing prevention education. This study examined how two methods of prevention delivery—small group educational workshops and a community-wide social marketing campaign (SMC)—worked separately and together to promote attitude change related to sexual violence among college students. Results revealed benefits of the SMC as a booster for attitude changes related to being an active bystander to prevent sexual violence. Further, students who first participated in the program showed enhanced attitude effects related to the SMC. This is the first study to look at the combination of effects of different sexual violence prevention tools on student attitudes. It also showcases a method for how to investigate if prevention tools work separately and together.

Major Awards Received in Fiscal Year 2017 (July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017)

Risk Behaviors among Offspring of Teen Parents: Effects of Parenting on the Next Generation
Project Director: Jennifer Grossman, Ph.D. Funded by: National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Sex/Ed Conference in India

tinyglobe The Centre for Studies in Gender and Sexuality (CSGS) at Ashoka University and the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) organized Sex/Ed, an international conference held in New Delhi, India, in November 2017.

While in India in November 2017, Emmy Howe, M.Ed., co-director of the National SEED Project, Nan Stein, Ed.D., WCW senior research scientist, and Puja Kranz- Howe, Lesley University senior and Howe’s daughter, visited a women’s cooperative and community educational programs in the greater Mumbai area.

Tracy Gladstone, Ph.D., director of the Stone Primary Prevention Initiatives and associate director of the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), traveled to Ljubljana, Slovenia for the 47th Congress of the European Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies in September 2017. She participated in a symposium, “Current Challenges and Future Directions in the Prevention of Youth Depression,” organized by colleagues in Germany, who were interested in Gladstone’s work on a primary care, internetbased depression prevention program for adolescents at risk for depression. This symposium brought together researchers who shared approaches to youth depression in different settings and discussed ways to adapt interventions for use in other cultures/countries. They also explored mechanisms that account for intervention success.