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Better evidence for a better world
Better evidence for a better world

Better evidence for a better world (167)

Additional Info

  • Authors Evan Mayo-Wilson, Catriona Shatford, Paul Montgomery
  • Published date 2008-11-04
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review
  • Category Image Category Image
  • Title Personal assistance for children and adolescents (0-18) with physical impairments
  • English

    Personal assistance offers people with impairments choice of service and greater quality of life

    Six new Campbell systematic reviews examine research on the effect of personal assistance for people with impairments and elderly people. Several studies, including a large US randomised controlled trial, suggest that personal assistance increases the quality of life for elderly people as well as younger people with impairments. The state of evidence may change as new studies emerge.

    A widely used intervention

    People who have muscular dystrophy, suffer from a brain injury or who have become frail with old age often have difficulties taking part in society on equal terms with others. An increasing number of people are born with physical or intellectual impairments or acquire them later in life. Furthermore, the elderly population is increasing. A great number of local-government authorities therefore offer personal assistance for people with impairments to help people take part in all parts of society. Personal assistance is customised support that may include help in all areas of life, including transportation, social activities, work, education, shopping, eating and hygiene. Personal assistance is offered in different forms in most western countries. This type of intervention is especially widespread in the Nordic countries, where personal assistance is often a statutory right.

    Six new Campbell systematic reviews have examined the effect of personal assistance on quality of life for people of all ages with physical and intellectual impairments.

    Can increase quality of life

    A very large US randomised controlled trial examined the effect of personal assistance on quality of life and user satisfaction in four out of the six target groups, namely children with intellectual impairments, adults with physical impairments, adults with both physical and intellectual impairments and older adults (65+). The study suggests that personal assistance has a positive effect on quality of life and user satisfaction for all four target groups. The positive outcomes for older adults (65+) in this trial are consistent with outcomes in three smaller studies using less rigorous designs. Furthermore, the positive outcomes for adults with physical and intellectual impairments are consistent with the outcomes in another small study.

    The US study randomised the participants to personal assistance or to other publicly-paid support (the control group). Participation in the trial was on a voluntary basis, that is, participants were themselves interested in having a personal assistant. Participants with a personal assistant became more satisfied with life. About half were very satisfied with the way they were spending their lives,

    whereas this was true for only just under one-third in the control group. Children with intellectual impairments experienced the greatest progress, as reported by their parents.

    These studies all aim to assess ’soft values’ (such as quality of life and user satisfaction) as well as hard outcomes, such as nursing home admission. They show that rigorous research designs, including randomised controlled trials, can measure impacts on all sorts of outcomes. Randomised controlled trials actually provide a very accurate picture of the effect on users’ quality of life and satisfaction.

    One among many interventions

    In the systematic reviews, personal assistance is defined as: support for at least 20 per week, in the user’s home, by a paid assistant other than a healthcare professional. The paid assistant is therefore typically trained and employed directly by the user. In many places, users form cooperatives to help train and pay assistants. These user groups may charge a fee to handle administrative duties like performing background checks and collecting taxes.

    All six systematic reviews emphasise that there might also be disadvantages from personal assistance. Frequent replacements, low salaries and lack of training and education of paid assistants may limit positive impacts. Furthermore, there is the risk that a personal assistant might reduce rather than enhance a user's self-sufficiency relative to alternative forms of support. To allow people to make best use of resources, policymakers might allow people to spend money on assistants, home modification, assistive devices, transportation, or whatever mix of services they feel would be most useful.

    More studies are needed

    Four of the systematic reviews, the outcomes of which are outlined above, examine the effects for four different groups: older adults (65+), adults with physical impairments, adults with physical and intellectual impairments, and children and adolescents with physical impairments. For these groups, the authors found studies with relevant, reliable and mutually consistent outcomes.

    However, for the two remaining systematic reviews, the authors did not find any relevant studies of a quality high enough to warrant inclusion in the reviews. These reviews hoped to examine the effect of personal assistance for children with physical impairments and children with both physical and intellectual impairments.

    All six systematic reviews observe that personal assistance schemes are increasingly popular. However, personal assistance can be organised in different ways, and other combinations of services might be ideal for certain groups of people. Further studies would help users and policymakers determine the best mix of service options.

  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2008.6

Additional Info

  • Authors Paul Montgomery, Evan Mayo-Wilson, Catriona Shatford
  • Published date 2008-11-04
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review
  • Category Image Category Image
  • PLS Title PLS Title
  • Title Personal assistance for children and adolescents (0-18) with both physical and intellectual impairments
  • English

    Personal assistance offers people with impairments choice of service and greater quality of life

    Six new Campbell systematic reviews examine research on the effect of personal assistance for people with impairments and elderly people. Several studies, including a large US randomised controlled trial, suggest that personal assistance increases the quality of life for elderly people as well as younger people with impairments. The state of evidence may change as new studies emerge.

    A widely used intervention

    People who have muscular dystrophy, suffer from a brain injury or who have become frail with old age often have difficulties taking part in society on equal terms with others. An increasing number of people are born with physical or intellectual impairments or acquire them later in life. Furthermore, the elderly population is increasing. A great number of local-government authorities therefore offer personal assistance for people with impairments to help people take part in all parts of society. Personal assistance is customised support that may include help in all areas of life, including transportation, social activities, work, education, shopping, eating and hygiene. Personal assistance is offered in different forms in most western countries. This type of intervention is especially widespread in the Nordic countries, where personal assistance is often a statutory right.

    Six new Campbell systematic reviews have examined the effect of personal assistance on quality of life for people of all ages with physical and intellectual impairments.

    Can increase quality of life

    A very large US randomised controlled trial examined the effect of personal assistance on quality of life and user satisfaction in four out of the six target groups, namely children with intellectual impairments, adults with physical impairments, adults with both physical and intellectual impairments and older adults (65+). The study suggests that personal assistance has a positive effect on quality of life and user satisfaction for all four target groups. The positive outcomes for older adults (65+) in this trial are consistent with outcomes in three smaller studies using less rigorous designs. Furthermore, the positive outcomes for adults with physical and intellectual impairments are consistent with the outcomes in another small study.

    The US study randomised the participants to personal assistance or to other publicly-paid support (the control group). Participation in the trial was on a voluntary basis, that is, participants were themselves interested in having a personal assistant. Participants with a personal assistant became more satisfied with life. About half were very satisfied with the way they were spending their lives,

    whereas this was true for only just under one-third in the control group. Children with intellectual impairments experienced the greatest progress, as reported by their parents.

    These studies all aim to assess ’soft values’ (such as quality of life and user satisfaction) as well as hard outcomes, such as nursing home admission. They show that rigorous research designs, including randomised controlled trials, can measure impacts on all sorts of outcomes. Randomised controlled trials actually provide a very accurate picture of the effect on users’ quality of life and satisfaction.

    One among many interventions

    In the systematic reviews, personal assistance is defined as: support for at least 20 per week, in the user’s home, by a paid assistant other than a healthcare professional. The paid assistant is therefore typically trained and employed directly by the user. In many places, users form cooperatives to help train and pay assistants. These user groups may charge a fee to handle administrative duties like performing background checks and collecting taxes.

    All six systematic reviews emphasise that there might also be disadvantages from personal assistance. Frequent replacements, low salaries and lack of training and education of paid assistants may limit positive impacts. Furthermore, there is the risk that a personal assistant might reduce rather than enhance a user's self-sufficiency relative to alternative forms of support. To allow people to make best use of resources, policymakers might allow people to spend money on assistants, home modification, assistive devices, transportation, or whatever mix of services they feel would be most useful.

    More studies are needed

    Four of the systematic reviews, the outcomes of which are outlined above, examine the effects for four different groups: older adults (65+), adults with physical impairments, adults with physical and intellectual impairments, and children and adolescents with physical impairments. For these groups, the authors found studies with relevant, reliable and mutually consistent outcomes.

    However, for the two remaining systematic reviews, the authors did not find any relevant studies of a quality high enough to warrant inclusion in the reviews. These reviews hoped to examine the effect of personal assistance for children with physical impairments and children with both physical and intellectual impairments.

    All six systematic reviews observe that personal assistance schemes are increasingly popular. However, personal assistance can be organised in different ways, and other combinations of services might be ideal for certain groups of people. Further studies would help users and policymakers determine the best mix of service options.

  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2008.5

Additional Info

  • Authors Robert C. Davis, David Weisburd, Bruce Taylor
  • Published date 2008-11-03
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review
  • Category Image Category Image
  • Title Effects of second responder programs on repeat incidents of family abuse
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2008.15

Additional Info

  • Authors Evan Mayo-Wilson, Catriona Shatford, Paul Montgomery
  • Published date 2008-09-28
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review
  • Category Image Category Image
  • Title Personal assistance for adults (19-64) with physical impairments
  • English

    Personal assistance offers people with impairments choice of service and greater quality of life

    Six new Campbell systematic reviews examine research on the effect of personal assistance for people with impairments and elderly people. Several studies, including a large US randomised controlled trial, suggest that personal assistance increases the quality of life for elderly people as well as younger people with impairments. The state of evidence may change as new studies emerge.

    A widely used intervention

    People who have muscular dystrophy, suffer from a brain injury or who have become frail with old age often have difficulties taking part in society on equal terms with others. An increasing number of people are born with physical or intellectual impairments or acquire them later in life. Furthermore, the elderly population is increasing. A great number of local-government authorities therefore offer personal assistance for people with impairments to help people take part in all parts of society. Personal assistance is customised support that may include help in all areas of life, including transportation, social activities, work, education, shopping, eating and hygiene. Personal assistance is offered in different forms in most western countries. This type of intervention is especially widespread in the Nordic countries, where personal assistance is often a statutory right.

    Six new Campbell systematic reviews have examined the effect of personal assistance on quality of life for people of all ages with physical and intellectual impairments.

    Can increase quality of life

    A very large US randomised controlled trial examined the effect of personal assistance on quality of life and user satisfaction in four out of the six target groups, namely children with intellectual impairments, adults with physical impairments, adults with both physical and intellectual impairments and older adults (65+). The study suggests that personal assistance has a positive effect on quality of life and user satisfaction for all four target groups. The positive outcomes for older adults (65+) in this trial are consistent with outcomes in three smaller studies using less rigorous designs. Furthermore, the positive outcomes for adults with physical and intellectual impairments are consistent with the outcomes in another small study.

    The US study randomised the participants to personal assistance or to other publicly-paid support (the control group). Participation in the trial was on a voluntary basis, that is, participants were themselves interested in having a personal assistant. Participants with a personal assistant became more satisfied with life. About half were very satisfied with the way they were spending their lives,

    whereas this was true for only just under one-third in the control group. Children with intellectual impairments experienced the greatest progress, as reported by their parents.

    These studies all aim to assess ’soft values’ (such as quality of life and user satisfaction) as well as hard outcomes, such as nursing home admission. They show that rigorous research designs, including randomised controlled trials, can measure impacts on all sorts of outcomes. Randomised controlled trials actually provide a very accurate picture of the effect on users’ quality of life and satisfaction.

    One among many interventions

    In the systematic reviews, personal assistance is defined as: support for at least 20 per week, in the user’s home, by a paid assistant other than a healthcare professional. The paid assistant is therefore typically trained and employed directly by the user. In many places, users form cooperatives to help train and pay assistants. These user groups may charge a fee to handle administrative duties like performing background checks and collecting taxes.

    All six systematic reviews emphasise that there might also be disadvantages from personal assistance. Frequent replacements, low salaries and lack of training and education of paid assistants may limit positive impacts. Furthermore, there is the risk that a personal assistant might reduce rather than enhance a user's self-sufficiency relative to alternative forms of support. To allow people to make best use of resources, policymakers might allow people to spend money on assistants, home modification, assistive devices, transportation, or whatever mix of services they feel would be most useful.

    More studies are needed

    Four of the systematic reviews, the outcomes of which are outlined above, examine the effects for four different groups: older adults (65+), adults with physical impairments, adults with physical and intellectual impairments, and children and adolescents with physical impairments. For these groups, the authors found studies with relevant, reliable and mutually consistent outcomes.

    However, for the two remaining systematic reviews, the authors did not find any relevant studies of a quality high enough to warrant inclusion in the reviews. These reviews hoped to examine the effect of personal assistance for children with physical impairments and children with both physical and intellectual impairments.

    All six systematic reviews observe that personal assistance schemes are increasingly popular. However, personal assistance can be organised in different ways, and other combinations of services might be ideal for certain groups of people. Further studies would help users and policymakers determine the best mix of service options.

  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2008.3

Additional Info

  • Authors Brandon Welsh, David Farrington
  • Published date 2008-09-25
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review
  • Category Image Category Image
  • Title Effects of improved street lighting on crime
  • English

    See the light! Street lights prevent crime

    There is an alternative to increased surveillance as a means of preventing crime in public space. The solution is closer than we think: improved street lighting. A new Cambell systematic review shows that improved street lighting reduces crimes by 21 percent. Furthermore, improved street lighting even reduces daytime crime. Researchers believe the improvement in crime rates happens because better lighting is a sign of an orderly neighbourhood; a neighbourhood where people call the police if they see a crime.

    Street lights prevent crime

    When the sun sets, streets are much easier to use if there is street lighting. Street lighting is essential for people who want to go from A to B after dark.

    However, street lighting is about more than merely making it easier to use streets at night. Street lighting is also about helping people feel safe: in areas with much crime, improved street lighting can abate the problem. A new Cambell systematic review finds that improved street lighting reduces crime by 21 percent in experimental areas compared to comparable areas with no street lighting improvements.

    At the same time, researchers point out another remarkable result, namely that improved street lighting reduces daytime crime.

    Why does improved street lighting work - even during daytime?

    Most of us are familiar with feeling insecure in dark places. Street lighting makes us feel safer, because we can see other people who, like ourselves, are out at night, and they can see us. The fact that others can see us, if we were to be confronted by an offender, increases our feeling of safety. Moreover, we expect criminals to avoid potential crime scenes, if there is a high probability of being caught. Finally, street lighting increases the feeling of safety because more law-abiding citizens use the streets at night. When there are more people in the streets, we perform natural surveillance of each other.

    Is it, however, only the increased natural surveillance that causes the decreases in crimes? Not according to the authors of the review. If natural surveillance were the sole cause of the reduction in crime, this reduction would only be evident in nighttime crime. However, daytime crime is also reduced.

    Community pride

    Researchers therefore believe that improved street lighting is also efficacious because it increases the feeling of pride, and thereby also informal social control in the neighbourhood.

    The theory is that when local government chooses to improve conditions in our neighbourhood, for example through improved street lighting, they send a signal that they care about us. This might lead us to have a more positive image of our neighbourhood, and our neighbourhood will moreover appear better cared for. This in turn strengthens community cohesion and pride. When we become more proud of the place we live, we also become more observant of each other on an everyday basis. We feel that public space belongs to us all. We develop a greater sense of responsibility and this leads to more social control and reduced night-time and daytime crime in the neighbourhood.

    What have researchers studied?

    The systematic review is based on high-quality evaluation studies that examine whether crime in public space (e.g. burglary, violent assault, theft and street robbery) is reduced when street lighting is improved. The review specifies that improved street lighting has a positive effect on reductions in burglaries and thefts, however not in violent crimes.

    Thirteen studies were included in the review: eight US studies and five UK studies. The review shows that the positive effect of improved street lighting has been greater in the UK than in the US. All of the studies concentrate on the isolated crime-prevention effect of street lighting – and nothing else. This means that the fall of 21 percent in crime rates does not stem from combined interventions, e.g. street lighting and video surveillance, or street lighting and improved playgrounds.

    See the light!

    The overall final conclusion of researchers is that improved street lighting is an effective means of preventing crime. The financial costs can be recouped through savings from reduced crime, and there seems to be no immediate negative consequences for society – on the contrary.

    Improved street lighting benefits the entire neighbourhood, not just individual citizens. Lighting improvements are not an infringement of civil rights but improves the general feeling of safety and ensures greater public street use in neighbourhoods at night time.

  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2008.13

Additional Info

  • Authors Lynette Feder, Sabrina Austin, David Wilson
  • Published date 2008-08-30
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review
  • Category Image Category Image
  • Title Court-mandated interventions for individuals convicted of domestic violence
  • English

    Court-mandated treatment does not bring an end to domestic violence

    Domestic violence often results in court-mandated treatment. However, the most reliable current research cannot document that court-mandated treatment prevents further domestic assaults.

    Domestic violence is a widespread and serious problem

    The world health organization WHO assesses that domestic violence is the most common form of violence against women. Women who are exposed to domestic violence suffer serious mental and physical injury. Moreover, this violence may have a number of negative repercussions for the children in the home. Therefore, there is a large demand for programs that can prevent the violence and any repeated episodes.

    Mandated treatment

    In efforts to stamp out the violence, it has become a widespread practice in the USA and several European countries to sentence the violent partner to a court-mandated treatment program. This may be part of the requirements of a release on parole or a conditional discharge sentence. The treatment consists of group sessions with dialogue and therapy aimed at teaching offenders to take responsibility for their violent actions, deal with their rage and ultimately change their behavior. The purpose is to prevent repeated assaults.

    In court-mandated treatment the violent partner is legally obligated to undergo treatment. Treatment programs based on voluntary participation may suffer large dropout rates. Thus courtmandated treatment programs provide a method for ensuring that violence offenders remain in the treatment program. Additionally, court-mandated treatment programs also serve as an alternative to imprisonment and in this way can relieve pressure on overcrowded prisons.

    Doubts about the effectiveness of court-mandated treatments

    A new Campbell Review has examined the effect of ordering violent partners to undergo treatment. The researchers summarized the best studies in this area and analyzed whether court-mandated treatments prevent repeated assaults. The conclusion is that the current evidence raises doubts about effectiveness of court-mandated treatment in reducing the probability of repeated domestic violence. Existing research can therefore not guarantee that court-mandated treatments actually do more good than harm. The Review emphasizes that even though there is an acute need for methods to stop and prevent repeated violence, forcing the violent offender to undergo treatment might not result in positive effects.

    About the review

    All studies conducted between 1986 and 2003 that examine the effect of court mandated treatments were searched for in the review. The researchers’ conclusions are based on ten studies that were assessed to be of sufficient high quality. The studies are all carried out in the USA and include a total of 3.614 participants. The participants are adult men, 18 years and older who have been sentenced for committing violence against their partner. This may be violence committed against current or former spouses, cohabiters or violence between dating couples.

    The violent offender participates in group sessions, from 8 to 32 therapy sessions distributed over a one year period. Therapy is either based on a psychoeducational or cognitive behavioral approach. Psychoeducation focuses on increasing the batterer’s understanding of violence and its implications, teaching the male batterer to take responsibility, solve conflicts and learn to deal with their rage. Cognitive behavioral therapy mainly focuses on changing thought patterns and convictions that lead to the violent behavior.

    All ten studies compare two groups: A group that is given a court-mandated treatment and a comparison group which is given an alternative sentence. 5 of the studies are experimental (RCT).The alternative sentence may consist of a conditional discharge without requirement to undergo treatment or an order to do community service. In the studies the two groups are compared in relation to the number of repeated police reports, arrests for violence and the victim’s own assessment of whether their partner’s violent behavior continues. The findings showed a small positive effect when official measures of repeat violence were examined but no effect when victim reports of repeat violence were used. The inconsistency in findings across measures and the greater credibility of the victim based data raise serious concerns about the effectiveness of these programs.

  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2008.12

Additional Info

  • Authors Cynthia McDougall, Mark A. Cohen, Amanda Perry, Raymond Swaray
  • Published date 2008-08-27
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review
  • Category Image Category Image
  • Title Benefit-cost analyses of sentencing
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2008.10

Additional Info

  • Authors Alex R. Piquero, David P. Farrington, Brandon C. Welsh, Richard Tremblay, Wesley G. Jennings
  • Published date 2008-08-27
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice
  • Type of document Review
  • Category Image Category Image
  • Title Effects of early family/parent training programs on anti-social behavior and delinquency
  • English

    "Little trouble-makers" can be helped

    Family/parent training programs can provide parents with tools to raise their children. This can help them deal with children's behavior problems. The programs prevent later antisocial behavior and delinquency in children and they have a positive influence in later life in areas such as partnerships, education and work. This has been documented by a Campbell Review of the most solid international research results.

    Behavior Problems increase risks of later delinquency

    When young children hit or terrorize their comrades, or exhibit other behavior problems, early intervention is vital. "Little trouble-makers" are at greater risk of developing into "big trouble-makers".

    Research indicates that young children with problem behavior are more likely to end in a life of crime than other children. They also have several additional problems later in adolescence and adulthood. For example they will have more difficulties at school and they will find it harder to achieve educational qualifications than other young people. They are also more exposed to unemployment and are more likely to have problems in partnerships. As research also indicates that it becomes more difficult to change these children’s behavior as time passes, early prevention has received great political and professional interest.

    The majority of youth crime is committed by a hard core of young people. The police and probation services are aware of them, and they are very resource demanding for society. These are the youths it is important to try and get hold of while they are still just "little trouble-makers". In recent years, therefore, many countries have started using family/parent training programs in an attempt to prevent delinquency and youth crime.

    Family/parent training programs are aimed at parents of children with behavior problems and aggressive behavior. There are programs for children of all ages, but this review concentrates on programs for parents of children between 0 and 5 years old.

    The aim of the programs is to enhance and develop parents' ability to be parents for their children. Alternatively psychological or other professional treatment of the child with problems could be applied, but in applying family/parent training programs, the focus is on the parents rather than the children. The goal is to improve parents' abilities to build a good relationship with their child and to raise their child well. More specifically, training parents involves being better at interacting with their child, praising, setting limits and being consistent in their parenting and discipline.

    A better relationship between parents and the child helps the child control impulsive, oppositional and aggressive behavior. In the most successful cases the child stops being a "little trouble-maker" altogether. If problem behavior is mitigated in early childhood, the child will experience fewer problems in adolescence and adulthood with a smaller risk that the "little trouble-maker" develops into a "big trouble-maker".

    Family/parent training programs mean fewer behavior problems

    The review indicates that family/parent training programs are effective. Children from families who received training cope much better than children from families who did not receive training. In the families who did not take part in the family/parent training program, 5 out of 10 children continued to exhibit problem behavior after completion of treatment. On the other hand, only 3 out of 10 continued to have problems in families who did take part in the program. Therefore, family/parent training programs help reduce the number of "little trouble-makers" and in doing so, in the long term, the number of "big trouble-makers". At the same time, the Review also shows that for some the children, behavior problems disappear over the life course anyway, without any preventive efforts.

    Family/parent training programs

    Many different types of family/parent training programs are included in the studies. They all share the common objective to improve parents' competencies regarding their children and thereby improve their children’s behavior. Parent training is carried out by professional therapists and can either take place at a private clinic, at school or at a municipal facility. Training can be either individual or group based.

    Although the programs have the same overall objective, they have different ways of tackling the problem. The most common family/parent training program is The Incredible Years. The program was developed in the US, and therapists make much use of video recordings in their work with parents. Two other common programs are the Triple P - Positive Parenting Program and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Triple P was developed in Australia and its main characteristic is that the scope of the program is adjusted according to the scope of the family’s problems. PCIT was also developed in the US and it differs from the two other programs in that the therapist guides the parents directly during their interaction with the child.

    A few of the studies involved home visitation by a nurse, doctor or paraprofessional. Visits commenced during pregnancy or while the child was still a baby and comprised advice on managing the child’s behavior. The Review found no differences between the effect of home visits and the other family/parent training programs, i.e. they are equally effective.

    About the review

    There are 55 different studies in the review covering a total of almost 10,000 children under 5 years old. The studies come from throughout the world, including the US, the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand and China. The studies cover more than 30 years, the oldest being published in 1976, and the most recent in 2008.

    All the studies were randomized controlled experiments which compared a group who took part in a family/parent training program with a control group. The children in the control group were usually put on a waiting list to take part in the family/parent training program at a later date. This is a widespread and good method of making solid assessments of promising programs. On the one hand the randomization ensures that the effects can be measured, while on the other hand the waiting list

    ensures that the children in the control group are not, in the long term, excluded from taking part in the program once the effects have been documented. The results have been gathered using questionnaires on the behavior of the children, answered by parents, teachers or independent observers. Many different standardized questionnaires were used. The most commonly used was the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory (ECBI).

  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2008.11

Additional Info

  • Authors Herrick Fisher, Frances Gardner, Paul Montgomery
  • Published date 2008-08-21
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review
  • Category Image Category Image
  • Title Cognitive-behavioural interventions for preventing youth gang involvement for children and young people (7-16)
  • English

    Lack of research in preventing youth gang involvement

    Gang-related crime is a major problem in cities worldwide. Nonetheless, research is lacking on how best to prevent young people from becoming involved in gang-related activities. Two systematic reviews supported by SFI Campbell have reviewed the research concerning two specific preventive interventions for children and young people. However, the researchers found no studies of sufficient solidity to draw any conclusions as to the effect of these interventions.

    Gangs are a serious problem

    It is well-documented that young people recruited to gangs are responsible for more crime than their non-gang-member peers. Moreover, gang members do not only commit more crimes than their peers, they are also responsible for more serious offences such as assault and selling drugs.

    The majority of gang members are recruited among children and adolescents. One way of taking action on gang-related crime is thus to prevent children and young people from joining gangs in the first place. There are several types of such preventive interventions, but there is no general overview of their success rate. Accordingly, a group of researchers tasked itself with gathering and quality-assessing the available knowledge of the effects of two specific preventive interventions in two Campbell systematic reviews. The object was to investigate whether, based on the best knowledge available, it is possible to draw any conclusions concerning the effect of the interventions.

    Cognitive behavioural therapy or educational opportunities

    One of the two systematic reviews examined research concerning cognitive behavioural therapy to prevent gang membership among children and adolescents. In a number of other contexts, cognitive behavioural therapy has proved an effective means of reducing criminal behaviour among groups such as anti-social youth.

    The other systematic review looked for research into initiatives for opportunities provision, such as youth counselling, education or job training. The idea behind the initiatives is that education and work are held to deter young people from becoming members of gangs.

    The need for qualified outcomes research

    Unfortunately, none of the systematic reviews found any studies of sufficiently high quality to permit any conclusion concerning the effect of the two interventions. The researchers are therefore calling for well-managed randomised controlled trials or other trials involving comparison of an intervention group with a control group. Only via such studies will it be possible to make a qualified assessment of the effect of interventions against gang formation.

  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2008.7

Additional Info

  • Authors Patricia Lucas, Karen McIntosh, Mark Petticrew, Helen M. Roberts, Alan Shiell
  • Published date 2008-08-21
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review
  • Category Image Category Image
  • Title Financial benefits for child health and well-being in low-income or socially-disadvantaged families in developed world countries
  • English

    Modest financial support does not seem to help poor children

    A modest increase in monies provided to poor and socially disadvantaged families tied to work requirements does not seem to improve children’s health or well-being. This is the conclusion of a new review supported by SFI Campbell, which has examined nine randomised trials with over 25,000 participants.

    Disadvantage in childhood has serious consequences

    In the US, every fifth child grows up in relative poverty. In European countries such as Italy, Portugal, Ireland and the UK, the figure is approximately every seventh child. In all countries, there is a strong link between low household income and a long list of health-related, behavioural and educational problems in children.

    No one knows the precise causes behind this. But children who grow up in relatively poor families are less likely to do well in the education system and are more likely to become unemployed or to take unskilled, low-paid jobs as adults. They also have a higher risk of health problems, which will often persist throughout their adult lives.

    On the basis of this, a new Campbell review has looked more closely at interventions that attempt to reduce poverty for families through various forms of direct financial support. The question is whether financial benefits delivered as an intervention are effective at improving child health and well-being.

    Modest financial benefits do not help

    The types of support included in the review either involve a form of tax deduction or the direct payment of a small sum of money usually on condition of taking up full time work. In many cases, the extra money was temporary. Health Insurance and/or childcare support are often included as part of the package as well as job seeking support or similar.

    The conclusion is that there was no evidence of a positive effect from this type of financial support to families on the children’s well-being – neither in relation to their physical health, their mental health nor their emotional state.

    According to the authors, there may be several reasons for this. For most of the families, the overall increase in household income amounted to less than $50 a month. In only three out of the nine studies was the support more than $150 a month. Possibly, studies did not show any effect as the financial benefits were simply too low to make a difference to the families’ living conditions. Often, the benefits were for a set period of time only. The authors point out that a change in income that is

    perceived as temporary will not usually encourage people to change their spending habits. This may help to explain the outcome.

    Uncertainty regarding the effect of conditions

    It has not been possible to examine the isolated effects of the individual elements in the support programmes. What, for example, is the effect of there being special conditions that have to be met in order for the family to be eligible for financial support? According to the authors, an employment requirement may have the opposite effect than the one intended. As well as increasing income, a requirement for full time employment may increase family stress particularly among single parent families. Such a requirement may thus negate any positive effects of the financial support.

    Although the review does not find positive effects in relation to the children’s well-being, the authors do not wish to rule out the idea behind this type of intervention. The possibility that additional monies may make a difference to children in poor families still exists, according to the authors. But there is no evidence of effect of small and temporary financial benefits such as those in the cases examined.

    Facts about the review

    Nine different randomised controlled trials, with a total of more than 25,000 participants, are included in the review. The oldest study was reported in 1997, the most recent study in 2006. All studies took place in North America, eight of these in the US and one in Canada. All except one study covered several areas and included a mix of rural, suburban and urban samples. The participants were disadvantaged families and a high percentage was single mothers. The majority received or had applied for social benefits such as social security when they were selected to participate. At the start of the trial, the majority of children were between 3 and 10 years of age.

    Recommendations for future research

    The review shows that interventions in the form of conditional payments of small sums have been thoroughly tested and evaluated. Thus, according to the review authors, further studies of this nature are not necessary. On the other hand, there is a major need to examine the effects of the payment of larger sums without conditions for receipt. In such future studies, it is important that high quality data is collected about the children, e.g. regarding their health and development, their behaviour, emotions and educational attainment.

  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2008.9
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