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Innovative Community Academic Partnership (iCAP)

Project Title

1. Senior Companion Program Plus (SCP Plus) for Dementia Caregivers
2. Second Chance Texas Substance Use Intervention for Juvenile Court and School Referred Adolescents
3. Student Transitions through Parental Support (STTPS)
4. Using Intentions to Predict Readiness to Leave Prostitution and Reduce Recidivism: A Mixed Methods Study


Senior Companion Program Plus (SCP Plus) for Dementia Caregivers

Community Partners: The Senior Source, Inc.
Faculty Partners: Noelle L. Fields, PhD; Ling Xu, PhD; Virginia E. Richardson, PhD; Carmen Morano, PhD

PROJECT OVERVIEW: In the proposed project, researchers will utilize a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to inform the development of a culturally tailored, psycho-educational intervention designed for African American dementia caregivers.  African American participants in a Senior Companion (SC) Program will be integral to the design and delivery of the intervention for caregivers.  Using data from focus groups conducted with Senior Companions (SCs), the researchers will develop a training and psycho-educational intervention called the Senior Companion Program Plus (SCP Plus).  The SCP Plus is a timely, innovative, and sustainable intervention that is sensitive to the unique cultural issues of African American dementia caregivers.

PROJECT OUTCOMES: This proposed SCP Plus program will result in positive impacts for both The Senior Source and the researchers. More importantly, the proposed project will support dementia caregivers so that their loved ones will be able to remain in their homes and avoid or delay more costly institutional care. The project is expected to result in a culturally tailored psycho-educational intervention that will reduce caregiver burden and/or stress, improve caregiver coping skills, and expand caregiver social networks and supports.

Deliverables will include 40-hour training for SCs involved with the SCP Plus program and will result in the joint ownership of the training and training manual between the researchers and The Senior

Source. The researchers will create a final report for The Senior Source as well as provide communiques for use with agency funders, consumers, and supporters of the agency.  Staying true to a community based participatory approach, the SCs involved with the SCP Plus program will also participate in the dissemination of the research results to caregivers and other key stakeholders in their community.

Study findings will be disseminated to service providers and academic audiences at local, state, national and international levels using multiple venues. Locally, study findings will be presented at the Dallas Area Gerontological Society (DAGS) conference.  At the state level, findings will be presented at the annual Aging in Texas conference sponsored by the Texas Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Nationally, study results will be presented at the Gerontological Society of America annual meeting, the premiere interdisciplinary academic conference in the field of aging.   It is also the goal of the researchers to present study findings in an international venue such as the International Alzheimer’s Association Conference. Finally, the project is expected to result in several published manuscripts in top tier journals  such as Alzheimer's and Dementia, Journals  of Gerontology, The Gerontologist, The Journal of Gerontological Social Work, and Age and Aging.

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Second Chance Texas Substance Use Intervention for Juvenile Court and School Referred Adolescents

Community Partners: Second Chance Texas at Phoenix House of Texas
Faculty Partners: Craig Nagoshi, PhD; Anne Nordberg, PhD

PROJECT OVERVIEW: While juvenile court-referred treatment for adolescent substance use is expanding in this country, partly because of the success of the adult court model, research on existing program effects suggests that such substance abuse treatment is less effective among justice-involved adolescents compared with general population adolescents, perhaps due to greater anti-sociality and substance use severity in juvenile court-referred adolescents. However, while individual-based approaches are less effective among juvenile offenders, family-based approaches may be more effective than individual-based approaches in this population.

The proposed research tests the effectiveness of a new secondary prevention substance use intervention for both juvenile court- and school­ referred adolescents. In contrast to previous juvenile drug treatment court programs that involve only minimal participation of parents, Second Chance extensively involves parents in both the lessons their teen is being taught and in the implementation of the teen's action plan to achieve life goals without drugs.  Besides testing the effectiveness of this relatively new intervention in the Dallas area, the proposed research also tests whether the intervention differs in its effects for juvenile court- vs. school­ referred teens.  Finally, the research will explore whether behaviors targeted by the intervention, including adaptive coping skills and goal setting, mediate the intervention’s effects on substance use and antisocial behaviors.

PROJECT OUTCOMES: Findings from the project will be disseminated through reports to local stakeholders, national conference presentations, and submission of manuscripts to appropriate refereed journals.   A written report of the evaluation and analysis findings will be provided to administrators of Phoenix House Texas, Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic, and Partnerships for a Healthier Arlington. Reports from the project will focus on the characteristics of clients served by Second Chance Texas, including differences between juvenile court-referred  vs. school-referred  adolescents, intervention effectiveness, parents' and teens' perceptions  of the program, and mediating processes of intervention effectiveness.  

At the national level, we will submit abstracts to present at a national conference, such as Society for Prevention Research, Research Society on Alcoholism, Society for Social Work and Research, and Council on Social Work Education.  At the national level, manuscripts will be submitted to journals that focus on reaching practitioners and researchers, particularly in the area of court-mandated substance abuse treatment, such as Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Journal of Social/ Work Practice in the Addictions, and Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse.

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Student Transitions through Parental Support (STTPS)

Community Partners: Grand Prairie Independent School District (GPISD)
Faculty Partners: Debra J. Woody, PhD; Julieann Nagoshi, PhD; Craig Nagoshi, PhD; Sherry Bryson, LCSW; Haydee Hall, MSW

PROJECT OVERVIEW: The purpose of this project is to first, develop an innovative, effective, curriculum for substance abuse prevention that can be delivered in a school setting, is culturally relevant, and includes a student only and student/parent component (STTPS). The curriculum will be formed from the perspective of helping students manage developmental transitions. The curriculum will have two parts, one for students that will be delivered during the school day, and another for students and their parents to interact together during parent/student group sessions. Both the student and student/parent components will include innovative, interactive intervention techniques and the student/parent component will be facilitated through student/parent tasks such as meal preparation, family game playing, etc. emphasizing the student’s transitions in family, school, and other developmental roles.

Research methods will be used to assess the student only curriculum as well as whether the student curriculum with the addition of the parent component is more effective. The project site is a fifth grade center (a transitional year) with a student population of primarily Mexican American students and families.

PROJECT OUTCOMES: One of the most promising deliverables from this project is an innovative, effective, curriculum for substance abuse prevention that can be delivered in a school setting, is culturally relevant, includes a student/parent component, as well as affordable and developed from a developmental transition perspective. We will use outcomes from this project to continue the development of the curriculum and ultimately hope to make the curriculum available for use in other prevention intervention programs.

Of course we will adhere to requirements from the ICAP program for midterm and final reports. Outcomes from the research will be disseminated through national conference presentations and submission of manuscripts for publication in referred journals. We will also present the results to GPISD officials to identify next steps in program delivery, including identifying additional sites for substance abuse prevention intervention programs throughout the district.

Data from this project will provide the basis for submission of federal grant applications as described in the above section.

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Using Intentions to Predict Readiness to Leave Prostitution and Reduce Recidivism: A Mixed Methods Study

Community Partners: Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 9
Faculty Partners: Andrea N. Cimino, Courtney Cronley, Jaya Davis, Elissa Madden

ABSTRACT: Women involved in street prostitution are a highly vulnerable group who experience extreme levels of sexual and physical violence, exploitation, stigma, and long-lasting negative consequences. It is estimated that between 41% and 68% of street prostitutes have been physically assaulted or raped by clients while prostituting (Surratt, Inciardi, Kurtz & Kiley, 2004; Raphael & Shapiro, 2004), and they are 60 to 100 times more likely to be murdered than non-prostitutes (Salfati, James & Ferguson, 2008). Moreover, women who prostitute are at greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections than the general public (Farley & Kelly, 2000). Many of these women meet criteria for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and some use substances to cope with “the life”(Allen, Flaherty & Ely, 2010; Davis, 2000; Farley et al, 2003; Williamson & Folaron, 2003; Weitzer, 2009). Despite the risks and devastating consequences of engaging in street prostitution, it is common for women to enter, exit, and re-enter prostitution five or more times before finally exiting prostitution (Benoit & Millar, 2004), if they are able to leave at all. Cycling in and out of prostitution is costly for the criminal justice system and social service providers that attempt help this population as they spend time, money, and effort giving services to women who are not ready to leave prostitution. In fact, out of nearly 160 women, a program in Texas was only successful in helping 16% of women leave prostitution—that means 84% of their services were wasted on people who should not at all have been treated or who were treated with the wrong intervention.

In collaboration with the Tarrant County Criminal Court, the major aim of this project is to implement a readiness to leave prostitution assessment with women arrested for prostitution in Tarrant County, Texas. Understanding one’s readiness to leave prostitution is critical to predicting women’s successful exit from prostitution, including its ability to predict future recidivism and to determine which services would most benefit clients. This project is innovative in that it marks the first attempt to test an instrument specifically designed to measure readiness to leave prostitution and predict a successful exit from prostitution. Ultimately, this study will help the criminal justice system and social services programs utilize more evidence-based practices as they understand which women are most ready to engage in interventions designed to help them exit. Use of standardized assessments also promote objective decision-making, accountability, fiscal responsibility, and ultimately improve outcomes for this vulnerable group of women.

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