In a quasi experimental research study, Kratchowill and colleagues (2004) used universal recruitment of 100 Native American children in grades K–2 from three reservation schools in a generally low-income, rural area. Over 3 years, seven multifamily group cycles of Families And Schools Together (FAST) were implemented, each lasting 8 weeks. All children were assessed and then matched into 50 pairs, based on five variables: age, gender, grade, Tribe, and teacher assessment of high versus low classroom aggression on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). The matched pairs were then randomly assigned to FAST treatment or non–FAST control groups. The groups were comparable at entry, with no significant differences on participant characteristics. Researchers worked to keep teachers, observers, and testers “blind” concerning participants’ group status. Among the families who participated, 100 percent participated in at least one session, and 80 percent returned for at least five sessions.
The study used two widely recognized outcome measures of child behavior: the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) and the CBCL. These measures, completed by teachers and parents, have established reliability and validity and include subscales for social skills, aggression, and academic performance. Pretest and immediate posttest data, as well as 9- to 12-month follow-up data, was collected and analyzed. Student-level and “cycle-level” analyses were used.
McDonald and colleagues (2006) used a quasi-experimental research design that involved 10 urban elementary schools that were randomly assigned to either the FAST treatment group or a comparison condition. The intervention consisted of an afterschool, multifamily FAST support group; the comparison group received eight behavioral parenting pamphlets weekly with active follow-up and an invitation to a formal lecture on parenting (Family Education, or FAME). A universal treatment strategy was used, in which all families with children in the treatment or comparison condition classrooms were recruited for the study. The study included a 2-year follow-up. This study concentrated on a subsample of 130 Latino families (80 assigned to FAST and 50 assigned to FAME) who agreed to participate in the research and the 2-year follow-up teacher data collection. Among those who agreed to join the study, 89 percent participated in at least one session, and 78 percent participated in at least five sessions. The overall completion rate was 69 percent. Among the comparison group, all families were mailed the eight pamphlets, but only 4 percent attended parent sessions.
Groups differed at entry on gender (boys comprised 54 percent of FAST and 28 percent of FAME) and grade level (third graders comprised 51 percent of FAST and 38 percent of FAME). Measures included the CBCL and the SSRS, both of which were completed by teachers of the participants. For analysis, an intent-to-treat model was used, and hierarchical repeated measures regression models were used to estimate the net effects of the FAST program after 2 years. The regression models were used to group families within the various intervention cycles.
Kratchowill and colleagues (2009) used a quasi-experimental design that involved 134 kindergarten through second-grade children identified as having behavioral problems. The children attended eight schools in an ethnically diverse school district that served at-risk, low-income communities. Letters were sent to the parents of all identified children, inviting them to participate and informing them they would have a 50 percent chance of being included in the multifamily group FAST program and a 50 percent chance of being in the “services as usual” group.
The children were initially matched into 67 pairs, based on five variables: age, gender, grade, race, and teacher assessment of high versus low classroom aggression on the CBCL. Participants were 40 percent white, 35 percent African American, 13 percent Asian, and 12 percent Hispanic. The matched pairs were then randomly assigned to the FAST intervention group or the “services as usual” control group. Among FAST families, 100 percent participated in at least one session, and 90 percent returned for at least five sessions.
Measures included the parent and teacher forms of the CBCL and the parent and teacher versions of the SSRS. The Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales and the Family Support Scale were used to assess family functioning and social support. Teachers completing the follow-up measures were “blind” to group membership. Eight “cycles” of the FAST 8-week intervention were conducted. Posttests, conducted immediately following the 8-week FAST intervention for each cycle, and 1-year follow-up data were collected. Both student-level and cycle-level analyses of changes in scores were used.