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Search Result: 64 Records found
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The promotion of well-being among children exposed to intimate partner violence
  • Authors Natasha E. Latzman, Cecilia Casanueva, Julia Brinton, Valerie L. Forman-Hoffman
  • Published date 2019-09-30
  • Coordinating group(s) Crime and Justice, Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title The promotion of well-being among children exposed to intimate partner violence
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cl2.1049
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Limited evidence on the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions to promote well-being among children exposed to intimate partner violence

    Children’s exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant public health and social justice concern with potentially severe and long-lasting effects. The extent to which psychosocial interventions promote well-being among children exposed to IPV, and under what circumstances, such as the modality and setting, is unclear.

    What is this review about?

    Exposure to IPV in childhood can have both short- and long-term negative impacts to health and well-being that persist across generations. There is therefore an increased interest in the development of intervention strategies to promote well-being following exposure. Over the last two decades, theory-driven psychosocial programmes serving children exposed to violence have been developed and established in a range of venues (e.g., school-based mental health clinics, outpatient psychotherapy settings). This review provides a synthesis of the state of this literature and implications for research and practice.

    Specifically, the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions in improving total problems, externalising distress, internalising distress, interpersonal/social problems, and cognitive functioning are assessed. Variation in effects by intervention modality (e.g., individual, family-based) and setting of the intervention (e.g., home, outpatient clinic) are also examined.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effects of psychosocial interventions to promote well-being among children exposed to intimate partner violence. The review summarizes evidence from eight methodologically rigorous randomized controlled trials.

    What studies are included?

    This review includes eight randomised controlled trials (RCTs), with a total of 924 participants.

    The majority of studies were conducted in the USA, with one study each carried out in the Netherlands and India. The age range of target children varied, although all fell within the age range of 0 to 18 years.

    Three of the studies recruited general populations of parents and/or children who had been exposed to IPV, without stated inclusion criteria around parent or child symptomatology or functioning.

    Four studies had more explicit inclusion requirements such as children with IPV-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and fathers with alcohol dependence. Studies varied widely regarding the nature of IPV experienced by parents and witnessed or heard by children.

    What are the main findings of this review?

    Studies examined following outcomes: total problems, externalising distress, internalising distress, interpersonal/social problems, and cognitive functioning. However, differences in the specific measures used, interventions employed, and comparison groups limit the ability to synthesize findings.

    Evidence from two studies suggests there is preliminary evidence that in-home intensive services (parent training and provision of emotional support to the parent) decreases child externalising behaviour among children who have been exposed to IPV and have clinical levels of behaviour problems. However, support for this evidence was only found immediately post-treatment and at an eight-month follow-up, but not at a four-month follow-up.

    Intervention targeting the non-offending parent (mother) had the largest effect, followed by those that targeted the family together and, finally, the single study that targeted parent and child, separately.

    Interventions conducted in the home had a larger effect compared to those conducted in an outpatient setting. However, these findings should be interpreted with great caution due to the heterogeneity in study characteristics such as the nature of the comparators.

    Overall, it is largely unclear the extent to which psychosocial interventions promote well-being among children exposed to IPV, and under what circumstances.

    What do the findings of the review mean?

    The findings from this systematic review indicate that it is largely unclear the extent to which psychosocial interventions promote well-being among children exposed to IPV, and under what circumstances.

    More rigorous evaluation of psychosocial interventions needs to be conducted using common outcomes across studies in order to draw conclusions. We suggest that in addition to increased rigour in evaluation design (such as efforts to minimise selection bias), researchers assess the nature of child exposure and multiple subtypes of IPV; this will help elucidate whether interventions are more or less effective depending on the IPV exposure context.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies up to April 2018.

Recovery schools for improving behavioral and academic outcomes among students in recovery from substance use disorders
  • Authors Emily A. Hennessy, Emily E. Tanner-Smith, Andrew J. Finch, Nila Sathe, Shannon Kugley
  • Published date 2018-10-04
  • Coordinating group(s) Education, Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Recovery schools for improving behavioral and academic outcomes among students in recovery from substance use disorders
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.9
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    There is insufficient evidence to know whether recovery high schools and collegiate recovery communities are effective

    Very limited evidence addresses the effectiveness of recovery high schools (RHSs). There is no rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of collegiate recovery communities (CRCs).

    What is this review about?

    Based on the results of one study, RHSs may reduce high school students’ school absenteeism, marijuana use, and other drug use, and increase abstinence from drugs; but RHSs may be no better or worse than other high schools in improving grades, reducing truancy, or reducing alcohol use.

    It is unclear whether CRCs are effective in promoting academic success and reducing substance use among college students.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effects of recovery schools on student behavioral and academic outcomes, compared to the effects of non-recovery schools. The review summarizes evidence from one quasi-experimental study (with a total of 194 participants) that had potential serious risk of bias due to confounding.

    What are the main findings of this review?

    Sizable portions of youth are in recovery from substance use disorders, and many youth will return to use after receiving substance use treatment. Youth spend most of their waking hours at school, and thus schools are important social environments for youth in recovery from substance use disorders. Recovery schools have been identified as educational programs that may help support youth in recovery from substance use disorders.

    This review focused on two types of recovery schools: RHSs, which are schools that award secondary school diplomas and offer a range of therapeutic services in addition to standard educational curricula; and CRCs, which offer therapeutic and sober support services on college campuses.

    This review looked at whether recovery schools (RHSs or CRCs) affect academic success and substance use outcomes among students, compared to similar students who are not enrolled in recovery schools.

    What studies are included?

    The included study of recovery high schools used a controlled quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design and reported on the following outcomes: grade point average, truancy, school absenteeism, alcohol use, marijuana use, other drug use, and abstinence from alcohol/drugs. The included study focused on a sample of U.S. high school students. There were no eligible studies of CRCs.

    What do the findings of this review tell us?

    Findings from this review indicate insufficient evidence on the effects of recovery schools on student well-being. Although there is some indication RHSs may improve academic and substance use outcomes, this is based on the findings from a single study. There is no available evidence on the effects of CRCs.

    No strong conclusions can be drawn at this time, given the lack of available evidence on RHSs and CRCs, and the serious risk of bias in the one RHS study included in the review. The evidence from this review suggests there is a clear need for additional rigorous evaluations of recovery school effects prior to widespread implementation.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies until September 2018.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Deployment of personnel to military operations: impact on mental health and social functioning
  • Authors Martin Bøg, Trine Filges, Anne Marie Klint Jørgensen
  • Published date 2018-06-01
  • Coordinating group(s) Education, Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Deployment of personnel to military operations: impact on mental health and social functioning
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.6
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Deployment to military operations negatively affects the mental health functioning of deployed military personnel

    While additional research is needed, the current evidence strongly supports the notion that deployment negatively affects mental health functioning of deployed military personnel.

    What is this review about?

    When military personnel are deployed to military operations abroad they face an increased risk of physical harm, and an increased risk of adverse shocks to their mental health.

    The primary condition under consideration is deployment to an international military operation. Deployment to a military operation is not a uniform condition; rather, it covers a range of scenarios. Military deployment is defined as performing military service in an operation at a location outside the home country for a limited time period, pursuant to orders.

    The review included studies that reported outcomes for individuals who had been deployed. This review looked at the effect of deployment on mental health outcomes. The mental health outcomes are: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder (MDD), common mental disorders (depression, anxiety and somatisation disorders) and substance-related disorders.

    By identifying the major effects of deployment on mental health and quantifying these effects, the review can inform policy development on deployment and military activity as well as post-deployment support for veterans. In this way the review enables decision-makers to prioritise key areas.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effects of deployment on mental health. The review summarizes evidence from 185 studies. All studies used observational data to quantify the effect of deployment.

    What studies are included?

    This review includes studies that evaluate the effects of deployment on mental health. A total of 185 studies were identified. However, only 40 of these were assessed to be of sufficient methodological quality to be included in the final analysis. The studies spanned the period from 1993 to 2017 and were mostly carried out in the USA, UK and Australia. The studies all had some important methodological weaknesses. None of the included studies used experimental designs (random assignment).

    What are the main findings of this review?

    Does deployment have an effect on mental health?

    Deployment to military operations negatively affects the mental health functioning of deployed military personnel. For assessments taken more than 24 months since exposure, we consistently found adverse effects of deployment on all mental health domains (PTSD, depression, substance abuse/dependence, and common mental disorders), particularly on PTSD. For assessments taken less than 24 months (or a variable number of months since exposure) the evidence was less consistent and in many instances inconclusive.

    What do the findings of this review mean?

    The odds of screening positive for PTSD and depression were consistently high in the longer term. This suggests that efforts should be increased to detect and treat mental disorders, as effects may be long-lasting.

    Overall the risk of bias in the majority of included studies was high. While it is difficult to imagine a randomised study design to understand how deployment affects mental health, other matters such as changes to personnel policy, or unanticipated shocks to the demand for military personnel, could potentially be a rich source of quasi-experimental variation.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies up to April 2017.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Reducing unemployment benefit duration to increase job-finding rates
  • Authors Trine Filges, Anders Bruun Jonassen, Anne-Marie Klint Jørgensen
  • Published date 2018-02-28
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Reducing unemployment benefit duration to increase job-finding rates
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.2
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Reducing the maximum duration of unemployment benefits increases the job finding rate of the unemployed

    Reducing the maximum duration of unemployment benefits is one strategy used to reduce unemployment. Evidence from seven studies confirms such an effect. However, the effect is small and more studies of higher quality are needed to give more detailed findings to inform policy.

    What did the review study?

    Policymakers may wish to reduce the generosity of the unemployment benefits system in order to reduce unemployment levels. Reducing benefit levels may be politically more difficult than shortening the length of the unemployment benefit eligibility period to create work incentives for the unemployed.

    This review summarizes studies that measure the effects of shortening the maximum duration of unemployment benefit entitlement on job finding rates.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the impact of reducing the maximum duration of unemployment benefits on job-finding rates. Seven studies were included in the review, all of which are from European countries.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies had to examine the effect of a reduction in the maximum duration of entitlement of any kind of unemployment benefits on employment using a well-defined control group.

    Whilst 41 studies were identified, after allowing for study quality and data issues, only seven studies were included in the review. The included studies covered Austria (2 studies), France, Germany (3 studies) and Slovenia. Maximum entitlement ranged between 26 and 209 weeks. The studies analyzed reductions between 9 and 179 weeks, with an average of 43 weeks. The studies analyze data from 1,154,090 unemployment spells.

    What are the main results of this review?

    Reducing the duration of unemployment benefits increases the exit rate from unemployment.

    Data from seven studies show that the exit rate from unemployment for those with reduced duration of benefit entitlement on average is 10 per cent. This corresponds to a 52% chance that those with reduced duration will find a job before an unemployed person with the existing, longer duration (no effect corresponds to a 50% chance).

    There is not enough evidence to determine effects on the exit rate from re-employment or on the wage rate in the job found. There are insufficient high-quality studies to allow an examination of variation of effects.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    On the basis of this limited number of studies, shortening the maximum duration of unemployment benefit entitlement has a small effect on the job finding rate of the unemployed. Whether unemployed workers responding to a shorter potential benefit entitlement may be worse off, in the sense that they accept “lower quality” jobs, has not yet been fully investigated.

    But the review finds a surprisingly low number of studies with a sufficiently low risk of bias to be used for synthesis to determine the effect size of shortening the maximum duration of unemployment benefit entitlement. Many studies had to be excluded as they had a high risk of bias. This is a finding in its own right.

    There is a need for future studies to more thoroughly discuss the assumptions of the study design and justify the choice of method by considering and reporting all relevant data and tests. Future studies should also use data with all relevant information, in particular, information on whether eligible individuals actually received unemployment benefits and information on individual maximum entitlement duration.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to December 2016.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Effectiveness of interventions to reduce homelessness
  • Authors Heather Menzies Munthe-Kaas, Rigmor C Berg, Nora Blaasvær
  • Published date 2018-02-28
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Effectiveness of interventions to reduce homelessness
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2018.3
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Interventions to reduce homelessness and improve housing stability are effective

    There are large numbers of homeless people around the world. Interventions to address homelessness seem to be effective, though better quality evidence is required.

    What did the review study?

    There are large numbers of homeless people around the world. Efforts to combat homelessness have been made on national levels as well as at local government levels.

    This review assesses the effectiveness of interventions combining housing programmes with or without case management as a means to reduce homelessness and increase residential stability for individuals who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effectiveness of interventions to reduce homelessness and increase residential stability for individuals who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless. Forty-three studies were included in the review, 37 of which are from the USA.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies were randomized controlled trials of interventions for individuals who were already, or at-risk of becoming, homeless, and which measured impact on homelessness or housing stability with follow-up of at least one year.

    A total of 43 studies were included. The majority of the studies (37) were conducted in the United States, with three from the United Kingdom and one each from Australia, Canada, and Denmark.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Included interventions perform better than the usual services at reducing homelessness or improving housing stability in all comparisons.

    These interventions are:

    • High- and low-intensity case management
    • Housing First
    • Critical time intervention
    • Abstinence-contingent housing
    • Non-abstinence-contingent housing with high-intensity case management
    • Housing vouchers
    • Residential treatment

    These interventions seem to have similar beneficial effects, so it is unclear which of these is best with respect to reducing homelessness and increasing housing stability. Evidence with moderate certainty is available for high-intensity case management and housing first compared to usual services.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    A range of housing programs and case management interventions appear to reduce homelessness and improve housing stability, compared to usual services.

    However, there is uncertainty in this finding as most the studies have risk of bias due to poor reporting, lack of blinding, or poor randomization or allocation concealment of participants. In addition to the general need for better conducted and reported studies, there are specific gaps in the research with respect to: 1) disadvantaged youth; 2) abstinence-contingent housing with case management or day treatment; 3) non-abstinence contingent housing comparing group vs independent living; 4) Housing First compared to interventions other than usual services, and; 5) studies outside of the USA.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to January 2016.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Interventions to improve the labour market outcomes of youth: a systematic review of training, entrepreneurship promotion, employment services and subsidized employment interventions
  • Authors Jochen Kluve, Susana Puerto, David Robalino, Jose Manuel Romero, Friederike Rother, Jonathan Stöterau, Felix Weidenkaff, Marc Witte
  • Published date 2017-12-04
  • Coordinating group(s) Education, International Development, Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Interventions to improve the labour market outcomes of youth: a systematic review of training, entrepreneurship promotion, employment services and subsidized employment interventions
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.12
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Active labour market programmes for youth increase employment and earnings but effects vary between programmes and context

    Youth are disproportionately victims of unemployment and low-quality jobs. Active labour market programmes increase earnings and employment. But the effects vary greatly between programmes’ type, design and context.

    What did the review study?

    Youth unemployment is much greater than the average unemployment rate for adults, in some cases over three times as high. Today, over 73 million young people are unemployed worldwide. Moreover, two out of five young people in the labour force are either working but poor or are unemployed. The youth employment challenge is not only about job creation, but especially about enhancing the quality of jobs for youth.

    This systematic review assesses the impact of youth employment interventions on the labour market outcomes of young people. The included interventions are training and skills development, entrepreneurship promotion, employment services and subsidized employment. Outcomes of interest include employment, earnings and business performance outcomes.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the impact of youth employment interventions on the labour market outcomes of young people and business performance. The review summarises findings from 113 reports of 107 interventions in 31 countries.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies had to: (1) evaluate an active labour market programme (ALMP) which was designed for – or targeted primarily – young women and men aged between 15 and 35; (2) have an experimental and quasi-experimental design; and (3) report at least one eligible outcome variable measuring employment, earnings, or business performance.

    The evidence base covers 107 interventions in 31 countries, including 55 using skills training, 15 with entrepreneurship promotion, ten using employment services and 21 using subsidized employment.

    What are the main results in this review?

    Overall, youth employment interventions increase the employment and earnings of those youth who participate in them. But the effect is small with a lot of variation between programmes. There are significant effects for entrepreneurship promotion and skills training, but not for employment services and subsidised employment.

    Impacts on earnings were also positive but small and highly variable across programmes. Entrepreneurship promotion and skills training were effective in increasing earnings, while effects of employment services and subsidised employment were negligible or statistically insignificant. There is limited evidence of the effects of youth employment programmes on business performance outcomes, and the effect size was not statistically significant.

    In addition to the variation in impact across different types of programmes, some variation can be explained by country context, intervention design, and profile and characteristics of programme beneficiaries. The impacts of ALMPs are greater in magnitude in low- or middle-income countries than in high-income countries. Programmes targeting the most disadvantaged youth were associated with bigger programme effects, particularly for earnings outcomes, and effects were slightly larger for women than for men.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    The evidence suggests that investing in youth through active labour market measures may pay off. Skills training and entrepreneurship promotion interventions appear to yield positive results on average. So, there are potential benefits from combining supply- and demand-side interventions to support youth in the labour market.

    The evidence indicates the need for careful design of youth employment interventions. The “how” seems to be more important than the “what” and, in this regard, targeting disadvantaged youth may act as a key factor for success.

    There is a need to strengthen the evidence base with more studies of promising programmes, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Further research should investigate intermediate outcomes and soft skills, and should collect cost data.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published up to January 2015.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for improving health, quality of life and social functioning in adults
  • Authors Michael de Vibe, Arild Bjørndal, Sabina Fattah, Gunvor M Dyrdal, Even Halland, Emily E Tanner-Smith
  • Published date 2017-11-01
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for improving health, quality of life and social functioning in adults
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.11
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Mindfulness training improves health and quality of life for adults

    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is used to improve health, quality of life and social functioning. MBSR has a positive effect on mental health outcomes measured right after the intervention and at follow up. It also improves personal development, quality of life, and self-reported mindfulness.

    What is this review about?

    Stress and stress-related mental health problems are major causes of illness and disability. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is a group-based health promotion intervention to improve health and the way people deal with stress and life’s challenges. The core ingredient is mindfulness training through physical and mental exercises practiced daily for eight weeks. The mindful non-judgmental attitude of being present with what arises is practiced in the formal exercises and in everyday situations. This review assesses the effect of MBSR programs on outcome measures of mental and physical health, quality of life and social functioning in adults.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This review summarizes all studies that compare the effect of a MBSR program to a control group intervention, in which the participants had been randomly allocated to be in either the MBSR group or a control group. The review summarizes the results in two categories. First, where the effect of the MBSR program was compared to an inactive group (either a wait list group or one receiving ordinary care also received by the MSBR group). Second, where MBSR was compared with an alternative active group intervention.

    What studies are included?

    The review summarizes 101 randomized controlled trials with a total of 8,135 participants from USA, Europe, Asia and Australia. Twenty-two trials included persons with mild or moderate psychological problems, 47 targeted people with various somatic conditions and 32 of the studies recruited people from the general population. Seventy-two studies compared MBSR to an inactive control group, while 37 compared MBSR to an active control intervention. Seven studies compared MBSR to both. Ninety-six studies contributed data to the meta-analyses, with data from 7,647 participants.

    Is mindfulness effective?

    MBSR has a moderately large effect on outcome measures of mental health, somatic health, and quality of life including social function at post-intervention when compared to an inactive control. If 100 people go through the MBSR program, 21 more people will have a favourable mental health outcome compared to if they had been put on a wait-list or gotten only the usual treatment.

    These results may be inflated by underreporting of negative trials and moderate heterogeneity (indicating differences between the trials).

    MBSR has a small but significant effect on improving mental health at post-intervention compared to other active treatments. MBSR has the same effect as other active interventions on somatic health, and quality of life (including social function). There was no underreporting of negative trials, and heterogeneity (differences between trials) were small for mental health, moderate for quality of life and large for somatic health.

    The effects were similar across all target groups and were generally maintained at follow-up (1–34 months). The effects were largely independent of gender and study sample. The effects seemed also largely independent of duration and compliance with the MBSR intervention. No studies report results regarding side-effects or costs.

    Effects were strongly correlated to the effects on measures of mindfulness, indicating that the effects may be related to the increase in self-reported mindfulness.

    Two thirds of the included studies showed a considerable risk of bias, which was higher among studies with inactive than active control groups. Studies of higher quality reported lower effects than studies with low quality. The overall quality of the evidence was moderate, indicating moderate confidence in the reported effect sizes. Further research may change the estimate of effect.

    What do the findings of this review mean?

    Based on this review it is reasonable to consider MBSR a moderately well-documented method for helping adults improve their health and cope better with the challenges and stress that life brings. New research should improve the way the trials are conducted addressing the pitfalls in research on mind-body interventions.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies up to November 2015.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Effect of early, brief computerized interventions on risky alcohol and cannabis use among young people
  • Authors Geir Smedslund, Sabine Wollscheid, Lin Fang, Wendy Nilsen, Asbjørn Steiro, Lillebeth Larun
  • Published date 2017-04-07
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Effect of early, brief computerized interventions on risky alcohol and cannabis use among young people
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.6
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Computerized brief interventions seem to reduce risky alcohol use among young people; no evidence of effect on cannabis consumption

    Young people who abuse alcohol or cannabis are at risk of immediate and long-term health and legal consequences. There is some evidence of an impact on alcohol use. Findings are hampered by a lack of rigorous evidence, so further research is needed.

    What did the review study?

    Alcohol abuse and use of recreational drugs among young people are significant public health concerns. These should be addressed by effective interventions that provide assistance and counselling to drug and alcohol users.

    A computerized brief intervention is any preventive or therapeutic activity delivered through online or offline electronic devices, such as a mobile phone, and administered within an hour or less, even a few minutes, of the substance abuse. Such interventions aim to reduce alcohol abuse or drug abuse in general. This review assesses research on the effectiveness of early, computerized brief interventions on alcohol and cannabis use by young people who abuse either one or both of these substances.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines research on the effectiveness of early, computerized brief interventions on alcohol and cannabis use by young people who are high or risky consumers of either one or both of these substances. The review summarises findings from 60 studies from 10 countries. The participants were young people between the ages of 15 and 25, defined as risky consumers of alcohol or cannabis or both. The review included 33,316 participants.

    What studies are included?

    The included studies employed randomized controlled trials and reported on any computerized brief intervention used as a standalone treatment aimed at reducing alcohol and cannabis consumption. The secondary outcome measured was reported adverse outcomes.

    The studies were conducted in the United States, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Switzerland and Brazil, with one study conducted in several countries (Sweden, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Germany).

    The participants were consumers of alcohol or cannabis or both, and aged 15 to 25 years. A total of 60 studies with a sample size of 33,316 participants were included in the review.

    What are the main results in this review?

    The interventions significantly reduce alcohol consumption in the short-term compared to no intervention, but the effect size is small, and there is no significant effect in the long-term. There are also shortcomings in the quality of the evidence.

    Interventions which provide an assessment of alcohol use with feedback may have a larger effect that those which do not, but again, the evidence is weak.

    The few studies on cannabis did not show significant effects in the reduction of cannabis consumption.

    There was no evidence of adverse effects.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    Generally, the alcohol interventions seem to work. However, all the studies included in the review had methodological shortcomings. Given the lack of rigorous evidence, this conclusion should be read with caution.

    Only a few studies focused on cannabis, thus hampering any firm conclusion as to the intervention effectiveness.

    While there is doubt as to the validity of the findings, computerized brief interventions should not be completely ruled out as they are easy to administer, low cost and have no adverse effects.

    There is a need to conduct more high quality research, especially with regard to studies focused on cannabis use.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published until April 2016.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

Mindfulness-based interventions for improving cognition, academic achievement, behavior and socio-emotional functioning of primary and secondary students
  • Authors Brandy R Maynard, Michael Solis, Veronica Miller, Kristen E. Brendel
  • Published date 2017-03-10
  • Coordinating group(s) Education, Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title Mindfulness-based interventions for improving cognition, academic achievement, behavior and socio-emotional functioning of primary and secondary students
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/CSR.2017.5
  • Records available in English, Norwegian, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    Mindfulness-based interventions in schools have positive effects on cognitive and socioemotional processes but do not improve behavior and academic achievement

    The use of Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) in schools has been on the rise. Schools are using MBIs to reduce student stress and anxiety and improve socioemotional competencies, student behavior and academic achievement.

    MBIs have small, positive effects on cognitive and socioemotional processes but these effects were not seen for behavioral or academic outcomes. The studies are mostly of moderate to low quality. Therefore, further evidence from independent evaluators is needed to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of this type of intervention.

    What did the review study?

    With the diverse application and findings of positive effects of mindfulness practices with adults, as well as the growing popularity with the public, MBIs are increasingly being used with youth. Over the past several years, MBIs have received growing interest for use in schools to support socioemotional development and improve behavior and academic achievement.

    This review examines the effects of school-based MBIs on cognitive, behavioral, socioemotional and academic achievement outcomes with youth in a primary or secondary school setting. MBIs are interventions that use a mindfulness component, broadly defined as “paying attention in a particularly way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally”, often with other components, such as yoga, cognitive-behavioral strategies, or relaxation skills training.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effectiveness of school-based MBIs on cognition, behaviour, socioemotional outcomes and academic achievement. The review summarizes 61 studies and synthesizes 35 studies, with a total of 6,207 student participants.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies used a randomized controlled trial, quasi-experimental, single group pre-post test or single subject design and reported at least one of these outcomes: cognition, academic performance, behaviour, socioemotional, and physiological. Study populations include preschool, primary and secondary school students.

    A total of 61 studies are included in the review, but only the 35 randomized or quasi-experimental studies are used in the meta-analysis. Most of the studies were carried out in North America, and others in Asia, Europe and Canada. All interventions were conducted in a group format. Interventions ranged in duration (4-28 weeks) and number of sessions (6-125 sessions) and frequency of meetings (once every two weeks to 5 times a week).

    What are the main results in this review?

    MBIs have a small, statistically significant positive effect on cognitive and socioemotional outcomes. But there is not a significant effect on behavioural and academic outcomes.

    There was little heterogeneity for all outcomes, besides behavioural outcomes, suggesting that the interventions produced similar results across studies on cognitive, socioemotional, and academic outcomes despite the interventions being quite diverse.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    Findings from this review indicate mixed effects of MBIs in schools. There is some indication that MBIs can improve cognitive and socioemotional outcomes, but no support for improvement in behavior or academic achievement. Despite the growing support of MBIs for adults, youth may not benefit in the same ways or to the same extent as adults.

    While not well studied, anecdotal evidence indicates costs and adverse effects of these types of interventions that should be better studied and weighed against the small to no effects on different types of outcomes when considering adoption of MBIs in schools.

    These findings should be read with caution given the weakness of the evidence produced by the studies. The high risk of bias present in the studies means that further evidence is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of this type of intervention. The evidence from this review urges caution in the widespread adoption of MBIs and encourages rigorous evaluation of the practice should schools choose to implement it.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published until May 2015.

  • Norwegian

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  • Spanish

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12-step programs for reducing illicit drug use
  • Authors Martin Bøg, Trine Filges, Lars Brännström, Anne-Marie Klint Jørgensen, Maja Karrman Fredriksson
  • Published date 2017-02-15
  • Coordinating group(s) Social Welfare
  • Type of document Review Plain language summary
  • Title 12-step programs for reducing illicit drug use
  • Library Image Library Image
  • See the full review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.4073/csr.2017.2
  • Records available in English, Spanish
  • English

    PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY

    12-step programs for reducing illicit drug use are neither better nor worse than other interventions

    Illicit drug abuse has serious and far-reaching implications for the abuser, their family members, friends, and society as a whole.

    Preferred intervention programs are those that effectively reduce illicit drug use and its negative consequences, and are cost-effective as well. Current evidence shows that overall, 12-step programs are just as effective as alternative, psychosocial interventions. The costs of programs are, therefore, an important consideration. However, the strength of the studies is weak and further evidence regarding the effectiveness of 12-step programs is needed.

    What did the review study?

    Illicit drug abuse is a globally recognised problem leading to high human, social and economic costs.

    The 12-step program, modelled on the approach of Alcoholics Anonymous and adopted by Narcotics Anonymous and others, aims for complete abstinence. The 12-step approach is used both by self-help groups and for professional treatment called Twelve Step Facilitation (TSF). The broad applicability and low cost of the 12-step approach may appeal to policy makers.

    This review examines the effectiveness of 12-step programs in reducing the use of illicit drugs. Secondary outcomes considered are on criminal behaviour, prostitution, psychiatric symptoms, social functioning, employment status, homelessness, and treatment retention.

    What is the aim of this review?

    This Campbell systematic review examines the effectiveness of 12-step programs in reducing the use of illicit drugs. The review summarises findings from 10 studies, nine of which were conducted in the United States.

    What studies are included?

    Included studies assess 12-step interventions for participants with illicit drug dependence using randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies. Study populations are participants who have used one or more types of illicit drugs, regardless of gender and ethnic background.

    A total of 10 studies consisting of 1,071 participants are included in the final evaluation. Nine of the studies were conducted in the United States, and one in the United Kingdom. The studies compare the 12-step program to alternative interventions. Nine studies were included in meta-analysis.

    What are the main results in this review?

    There is no difference in the effectiveness of 12-step interventions compared to alternative psychosocial interventions in reducing drug use during treatment, post treatment, and at 6- and 12-month follow-ups. 12-step programmes combined with additional treatment did have a significant effect at 6-month follow-up, but this finding is based on few studies and is not found at 12-month follow-up.

    There is some evidence that 12-step programmes retain fewer of their participants than other programmes, but the evidence has shortcomings. No effect was found on other secondary outcomes.

    What do the findings in this review mean?

    The main evidence presented in this review suggests that 12-step programs for reducing illicit drug use are neither better nor worse than other interventions.

    This conclusion should be read with caution given the weakness of the evidence produced by the studies.

    The power to detect a difference between the 12-step interventions and alternative psychosocial interventions was low and the estimated effect sizes were small. Many studies failed to adjust for the fact that the intervention is administered to groups, and so may overestimate effects. Given all these shortcomings, further evidence regarding the effectiveness of this type of intervention, especially in self-help groups, is needed.

    How up-to-date is this review?

    The review authors searched for studies published until September 2016.

  • Spanish

    Click on 'Download PDF' on the right to view the plain language summary in Spanish.

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