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EmPeCemos: Emociones Pensamientos y Conductas para un desarrollo saludable (Emotions, Thoughts and Feelings for a healthy development)

Quality level: 3

Summary

EmPeCemos is a multi-component program aimed to prevent severe conduct problems and drug abuse in disruptive children aged 7 to 10 years. Early-onset conduct problems are known to be a key predictor of drug abuse, as well as of a wide array of health and conduct problems, such as school dropout, depression, impulsive behaviours and delinquency. Research has shown that these early-onset conduct problems involve a complex chain of risk factors, including family, school and socio-emotional variables. So, the EmPeCemos project was designed to simultaneously intervene on family, school and children's skills, with the aim of promoting social competence and breaking the circle of cumulative impairments of disruptive children. The program is delivered in a group format and the three components (family, school and children modules) are designed to support each other, with the aim of achieving coherent changes in the children and their environment.

Type of intervention:
prevention
Sub-area:
indicated
Setting:
family, school
Type of approach:
Target group:
Age group:
Annual coverage:
Substances addressed:
tobacco, cannabis, opiates, alcohol, ecstasy, cocaine and derivatives, amphetamines, methamphetamines, inhalants/solvents
Evaluation type:
evaluation of intervention planning, outcome evaluation, impact evaluation, process evaluation
Country:
Spain
Start date:
01/02/2005
End date:

Overall objective

To promote social competence and to prevent the development of severe conduct problems and drug abuse in disruptive children. This effect is intended to be achieved through the simultaneous changes in families, teachers and children.

Abstract

EmPeCemos is a multi-component program aimed to prevent severe conduct problems and drug abuse in disruptive children aged 7 to 10 years. Early-onset conduct problems are known to be a key predictor of drug abuse, as well as of a wide array of health and conduct problems, such as school dropout, impulsive behaviours and delinquency. Research has shown that these early-onset conduct problems tend to get chronic through their development, and that involve a complex chain of risk factors, including family, school and socio-emotional variables. Based on the theory and research on high-risk developmental a trajectories, the EmPeCemos project was designed to simultaneously intervene on family, school and children's skills, with the aim of promoting social competence and breaking the cumulative circle of impairments of early-onset disruptive children. The program is made up of three components: The 12-session family component trains parents in 1) positive parenting practices, 2) effective management of disruptive behaviours; 3) establishment of affectionate parent-child relationships; 4) support of children's cognitive-emotional development. The children's component also consists of 12 sessions and it is divided into three sections: 1) emotional skills (emotion identification and regulation); 2) cognitive skills (perspective taking, problem solving); 3) social skills (non verbal communication, establishment of friendships, empathy). The teacher's component consists of 8 sessions, which train teachers in strategies for dealing with disruptive children and their families (praising, setting rules in classroom, communication with parents, using rewards and negative consequences, promoting cognitive-emotional skills). The three components of EmPeCemos are delivered in a group format, following detailed manuals, and they are designed to support each other, so that they can favour coherent, coordinated changes in family, school, and the children skills. The program is administered after a screening process which involves parent- and teacher- reports of disruptive behaviours. Since 2005, the EmPeCemos intervention (each component separately or in its multi-component version) has been delivered in 26 schools in Galicia, Spain. Process evaluation showed a high degree of participant involvement, with high rates of attendance and relatively low dropout rates (8,2% for parents, 15,2% for teachers). The program also generated a high degree of acceptance, satisfaction and "social validity" by participants. Outcome evaluation, with a pre-post design which involved a comparison group from 12 randomly assigned schools, showed significant effects on 1) the key parenting practices (decreases in harsh and inconsistent discipline, increases in positive parenting, child monitoring and affective family atmosphere); 2) children skills (improvements in emotion identification, problem solving, parent- and teacher- rated social skills); 3) teacher's self-efficacy for dealing with disruptive children and their families. Not only the hypothesized mediating factors, but the children's disruptive problems (attention deficits, hyperactivity-impulsivity and oppositional defiant behaviours) were also decreased in the intervention group, in contrast with no changes in the comparison group (Cohen's d for the total score in behavioural problems=0,74). A longer follow-up will allow evaluation of the whole impact of EmPeCemos on the developmental trajectory of disruptive children, including drug use patterns and antisocial behaviour in adolescence.

The PDF contains the full intervention description including additional contact information.

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Page last updated: Friday, 20 January 2012