GSSW professor and scholar Jeff Jenson’s Aaron Rosen Lecture* was recently published in the journal, Research on Social Work Practice.1 In the article, he summarizes the history of research on interventions to preventing childhood and adolescent problem behavior including the shifts in theoretical orientations across the decades. Beginning in the 1980s, he argues, school-based prevention programs began to integrate social learning theory and focused more specifically on evidence about risk and protective factors. In one study completed by Jenson, the Youth Matters curriculum was implemented in half of the sample schools and in those schools there was a significant decrease in bully victimization and relational victimization. In a second study examining the effects of the afterschool program, The Bridge Project – a collaboration between the Denver Public Housing Authority and the University of Denver – Jenson found significant reductions in targeted risks and increases in protection factors.
These and other advances in the practice of prevention are particularly encouraging and the research can help guide practitioners in developing and offering evidence-based interventions to support youth and young adults.
*The Aaron Rosen award is an honor established by the Society for Social Work and Research and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, honoring Dr. Rosen, with a lecture by a prominent social work researcher whose cumulative work has moved the field of social work forward in terms of integration of research and practice.
1Jenson, J. M. (2010). Advances in prevention childhood and adolescent problem behavior. Research on Social Work Practice, 20, 701-713.