This study examined the results of a comprehensive, multifaceted longitudinal school-based prevention program called Raising Healthy Children (RHC), which focuses on enhancing protective factors that promote positive youth development, reducing identified risk factors, and preventing adolescent problem behaviors.
Participants were 938 elementary students from first or second grade who were enrolled in 10 area schools in the Pacific Northwest. They were randomly divided into two groups, those receiving RHC and peer controls. Analyses were conducted 18 months after implementation and focused on academic and behavioral improvements within the school environment. Result, which were based on hierarchical linear modeling, showed that RHC students, compared to their peers who did not receive the intervention, had significantly higher teacher-reported academic performance (t ratio=2.27, p<.001) and a stronger commitment to school (t ratio=2.16, p<.03). Similarly, teachers reported that RHC students showed a significant decrease in antisocial behaviors (t ratio=2.43, p<.02) and increased social competency (t ratio=2.96, p<.01) compared to control peers. Regression results from parent-reported outcomes also showed that RHC students had higher academic performance, B=.082, t=2.72, p<.01 and a stronger commitment to school, B=.080, t=2.45, p<.02. Results from this study and their implications for early and long-term prevention are discussed. (publisher abstract modified)