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Program Profile: Rochester Resilience Project (RRP)

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on September 10, 2014

Program Summary

A school-based intervention to improve the social-emotional and behavioral skills of young children (K – 3rd grade) at risk for mental health disorders and substance abuse. This program is rated Promising. The program had a significant, positive effect on measures of children’s task orientation, behavior control, assertiveness, and peer social skills. The program was also associated with a significant decline in the average numbers of suspensions and office disciplinary referrals.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
The goal of the Rochester Resilience Project (RRP) was to prevent mental health problems and substance abuse by teaching young children social–emotional and behavioral skills. The program targeted children who were identified through a population-based screening of all kindergarten through third graders in two urban schools as having problems in at least two of the following domains: behavioral, social–emotional, or on-task learning behaviors at school.

Key Personnel
Four female paraprofessionals employed by the school district were trained as Resilience Mentors. The research team instructed teachers on how to screen for eligible children.

Program Activities
The intervention consisted of 14 weekly 25-minute, one-to-one sessions in which Resilience Mentors taught youth a hierarchically ordered set of skills. The hierarchically ordered skills consisted of 1) monitoring of one’s own and others’ emotions, 2) self-control and reducing escalation of emotions, and 3) maintaining control and regaining equilibrium.

Resilience Mentors taught children using adult modeling and verbal instruction. A standardized structure was used to implement each lesson. Teachers received an orientation to the intervention at the start of the school year. Once mentors and children started meeting, mentors held meetings every other month with teachers to establish goals and to identify classroom contexts in which the children could apply their skills. Parents were also invited to a 30-minute orientation to the intervention.

Program Theory
The intervention was informed by a model in which problems in emotional regulation contribute to difficulties in behavior, mood, and social relationships (Wyman et al.  2004). Learning theories and research on development of self-regulation processes were used to derive techniques to teach emotional regulation to young children. These techniques included adult modeling, verbal instruction, and adult–child role play.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Task Orientation
Wyman and colleagues (2010) found a significant difference between the treatment and control groups in task orientation at the end of the 4-month intervention. Children in the treatment group were rated by their teachers as demonstrating greater task orientation (e.g., functioning well even with distraction) in comparison to children in the control group.

Behavior Control
There were significantly different levels of behavior control between the treatment and control groups at the end of the 4-month intervention. Children in the treatment group were rated by their teachers as having greater behavior control (e.g., ability to accept imposed limits) in comparison to children in the control group.

Assertiveness Versus Withdrawn Behavior
There was also a significant difference between the treatment and control groups in assertiveness versus withdrawn behavior at the end of the 4-month intervention. Children in the treatment group were rated by teachers as exhibiting greater assertiveness in their behavior than children in the control group.

Peer Social Skills
There was a significant difference between the treatment and control groups in peer social skills at the end of the 4-month intervention. Teachers rated children in the treatment group as having stronger peer social skills than children in the control group.

Office Disciplinary Referrals
There was a significant difference between the treatment and control groups in the average office disciplinary referrals received over the 4-month intervention. Children in the treatment group had fewer office disciplinary referrals compared to the control group. However, there was not a significant difference between the treatment and control groups in the percentage of children who received at least one disciplinary referral.

Suspensions
There was a significant difference between the treatment and control groups in the average number of suspensions received over the 4-month intervention. Children in the treatment group had a lower number of suspensions compared with the control group. Children in the treatment group were also less likely to receive at least one suspension during the 4-month period of the intervention than those in the control group. Specifically, 1.8 percent of children in the treatment group were suspended compared with 6.1 percent of those in the control group.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Wyman and colleagues (2010) evaluated an intervention (the Rochester Resilience Project; RRP) designed to prevent mental health problems and substance abuse in youth. Eligible participants consisted of children from kindergarten to the third grade who exhibited problems in at least two of the following domains: behavioral, social–emotional, or on-task learning behaviors at school. Over the course of 2 years, teachers screened children in their classrooms for eligibility. Of the 285 children deemed eligible, 261 children were enrolled in the study. These children were separated by gender and, in the second year, also by baseline behavior problems. They were then randomly assigned within their classrooms to either the intervention treatment group or to the waitlist control group. The intervention took place in a private setting during the school day. To reduce the time burden on teachers, the screening measure was changed from a 32-item questionnaire in year 1 to a 13-item questionnaire in year 2. There were no differences in the baseline measures between children screened at year 1 and year 2.

About 13 percent of the sample was lost to attrition before the study began, resulting in a total sample of 226 children. The sample contained 111 children in the treatment group and 115 children in the control group. The final composition of the sample was 61.5 percent black, 25.7 percent Hispanic, 8.4 percent white, 4.4 percent other race/ethnicity, and 54.4 percent female.

The study compared treatment and control groups at the beginning of the intervention and again at the end of the 4-month intervention. The Teacher–Child Rating Scale (Hightower et al. 1986) was used to assess four domains of each child’s behavior: 1) task orientation, 2) behavior control, 3) assertiveness versus withdrawn behavior, and 4) peer social skills. Other outcomes measured included the number of office disciplinary referrals and suspensions received by each child.

Children in the intervention and control groups did not differ significantly on outcome measures with one exception: teachers rated children in the intervention group as lower on behavior control compared with children in the control group.

A multilevel linear mixed-effects model was used to examine the impact of the intervention on the Teacher–Child Rating Scales. These analyses accounted for the nesting of students within classrooms and schools and also controlled for baseline scores on the outcome measures as well as for differences in grade level, gender, and race/ethnicity. The study used zero-inflated Poisson regression to analyze the impact of the intervention on office disciplinary referrals and suspensions. These analyses controlled for student gender as well as disciplinary referrals or suspensions received in the 3 months before the start of the intervention.
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Cost

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Resilience Mentors were paraprofessionals and paid employees of the school district.
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Implementation Information

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The research team trained teachers on how to screen children for program eligibility. Resilience Mentors received training and a manual to guide their delivery of lessons (Cross and Wyman 2004). Mentors were trained to calibrate the level of support that each child required over time, and to use reinforcement and feedback to successfully transfer skills to the children. The mentors also collaborated with teachers to identify classroom situations in which children could be reminded to use the new skills they were taught, although teachers were not trained to coach children in the use of the new skills (Wyman et al. 2010).

Additional information about procedures for measuring implementer fidelity for the Rochester Resilience Project (RRP) have been reported by Cross and West (2011) and Cross and colleagues (2014).
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Other Information

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A newer version of the Rochester Resilience Project (RRP) has been developed and an evaluation of this version of the program is forthcoming (personal communication, Peter Wyman). One notable difference between the newer version of the program and the version reviewed for CrimeSolutions.gov is an increase in the number of individual skill lessons from 14 to 24. The newer version of the RRP also contains an added component of 12 home or in-school visits (40 to 50 minutes each) for parents to introduce the specific emotional regulation skills, engage parents as teachers of skills, and incorporate skills into family life. Parents are taught to use parent–child activities, which cumulatively center on the three core skill sets. Finally, the newer version of the program contains a universal component consisting of brief classroom lessons co-taught by Resilience Mentors and teachers, covering emotion vocabulary and emotional regulation skills. Each year (over a 2-year span) teachers are offered eight lessons (usually 10 to 15 minutes each). The purpose of the lessons is to build emotional competencies in all children and to increase support for teacher reinforcement of the use of emotion-regulation strategies by children.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Wyman, Peter. A., Wendi Cross, Hendricks Brown, Qin Yu, Xin Tu, Shirley Eberly. 2010. “Intervention to Strengthen Emotional Self-Regulation in Children With Emerging Mental Health Problems: Proximal Impact on School Behavior.” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 38(24):707–20.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Cross, Wendi, and Peter A. Wyman. 2004. “Promoting Resilient Children Initiative (PRCI): Mentor’s Manual.” Unpublished Manuscript. Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester.

Cross, Wendi, and Jennifer West. 2011.  “Examining Implementer Fidelity: Conceptualizing and Measuring Adherence and Competence.” Journal of Children’s Services 6(1):18–33.

Cross, Wendi, Jennifer West, Peter A. Wyman, Karen Schmeelk–Cone, Yinglin Xia, Xin Tu, Michael Teisl, C. Hendricks Brown, and Marion Forgatch. 2014. “Observational Measures of Implementer Fidelity for a School-Based Preventive Intervention: Development, Reliability, and Validity.” Prevention Science 1–11.

Hightower, A. Dirk, William C. Work, Emory L. Cowen, B. S. Lotyczewski, A. P. Spinell, J. C. Guare, and C. A. Rohrbeck. 1986. “The Teacher–Child Rating Scale: A Brief Objective Measure of Elementary Children’s School Problem Behaviors and Competencies.” School Psychology Review 15(3):393–409.

Wyman, Peter, Wendi Cross, and Jason Barry. 2004. “Translating Research on Resilience Into School-Based Prevention: Program Components and Preliminary Outcomes From the Promoting Resilient Children Initiative (PRCI).” In M. Weist and C. Clauss–Ehlers (eds.), Community Planning to Foster Resilience in Children. New York, N.Y.:  Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
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Related Practices

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

Mentoring
This practice provides at-risk youth with positive and consistent adult or older peer contact to promote healthy development and functioning by reducing risk factors. The practice is rated Effective in reducing delinquency outcomes; and Promising in reducing the use of alcohol and drugs; improving school attendance, grades, academic achievement test scores, social skills and peer relationships.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
Promising - More than one Meta-Analysis Drugs & Substance Abuse - Multiple substances
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Education - Multiple education outcomes
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Mental Health & Behavioral Health - Psychological functioning
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Program Snapshot

Age: 5 - 8

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Hispanic, White, Other

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): School

Program Type: Academic Skills Enhancement, Conflict Resolution/Interpersonal Skills, Mentoring, School/Classroom Environment

Current Program Status: Not Active

Listed by Other Directories: Campbell Collaboration, Model Programs Guide

Program Developer:
Peter Wyman
Professor
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Avenue, Box PSYCH
Rochester NY 14642
Phone: 585.273.3372
Website
Email

Program Developer:
Wendi Cross
Associate Professor
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
300 Crittenden Boulevard Box PSYCH
Rochester NY 14640
Phone: 585.275.2005
Fax: 585.276.2292
Website
Email

Researcher:
Peter Wyman
Professor
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Avenue, Box PSYCH
Rochester NY 14642
Phone: 585.273.3372
Website
Email

Researcher:
Wendi Cross
Associate Professor
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
300 Crittenden Boulevard Box PSYCH
Rochester NY 14640
Phone: 585.275.2005
Fax: 585.276.2292
Website
Email