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Research Projects


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Current Projects 

Child Development Parent Training (CDPT)

Lead Investigator:  Dr. Lyndee Knox

CDPT (also called Madres a Madres) is a home visitation intervention delivered by Promotores (community health workers).  Designed for use with low-literacy immigrant mothers, the purpose of the intervention is to educate parents about the developmental needs of their children.  The intervention is conducted in a series of 4 home visitations.  CDPT is currently being implemented in the Santa Ana area of Southern California with 125 families participating.  Expected outcomes include increased childrearing knowledge, family functioning, parental involvement and supervision, parental warmth and support, and improved parenting skills and practices.

Positive Life Changes (PLC)

Lead Investigator:  Dr. Nancy Guerra

The PLC program is a comprehensive cognitive-behavioral training intervention.  Intended for individuals ages 13 to 25 in schools or alternative settings, the program includes three separate participant workbooks, each providing 10 lessons, for a total of 30 lessons.  The lessons provide a psychoeducational curriculum in which participants examine how they think, develop more effective skills, and apply these skills to their daily lives.  Lessons are primarily designed to be conducted in classroom or small group sessions, but they can also be accomplished individually or with the assistance of a mentor or counselor.  Although the three workbooks are part of a series, each can be used as a stand-alone or in combination with other workbooks as part of a prevention and intervention effort.  Expected outcomes are positive changes in 5 core competencies - 1) positive sense of self; 2) self-control; 3) moral system of belief; 4) prosocial connectedness; and 5) decision making skills.

Cross-site Aggression Measure

Lead Investigator:  Dr. Nancy Guerra and Academic Center Collaborators

The Cross-site Aggression Measure is being developed as a collaborative effort across several academic centers: UC Riverside, University of Hawaii, Virginia Commonwealth University, and University of Illinois a Chicago. A primary goal of this project is to develop and validate a comprehensive assessment/self-report measure for aggressive behavior that includes different types of aggression (bullying, physical, indirect) and victimization, and that will be available as a public domain assessment. A secondary goal of this effort is to develop and validate a measure of aggressive propensity that examines individual thresholds for reactive and proactive aggression.


Neighborhood Assessment Program for the City of Riverside

Lead Investigator:  Dr. Robert Nash Parker and the Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies

This project is being conducted in the city of Riverside, CA.  The work includes collecting data on a number of neighborhood indicators of the quality of life, the environment, physical infrastructure, public safety, social and economic conditions, health and mental health, transportation (both local and that which links Riverside to the larger southern California region), cultural capital and institutions, religious assets, and the degree to which these indicators have changed during the last five years.  These data will be organized and analyzed so that they can be presented in a clear and accessible fashion, including the construction of charts, maps, GIS and conventional data bases, that will facilitate the presentation of these indicators.  An executive summary and detailed summary report on the state of Riverside’s 26 neighborhoods will be provided for general distribution as determined by the City.  The Presley Center will also produce neighborhood specific “Neighborhood at a Glance” summary reports which can be distributed to neighborhood residents in the 26 areas as defined by the City and could serve as discussion points for city officials and neighborhood residents for the purpose of formulating neighborhood action plans and discussions of future development. 

Completed Projects 

Families and Schools Together (FAST)

Lead Investigator:  Dr. Lyndee Knox

In conjunction with ACE community partner Latino Health Access (LHA), Dr. Lyndee Knox headed the research team for the FAST intervention.  FAST is a family intervention designed to be conducted in a multi-family group setting.  Families meet once a week for 10 weeks and each meeting lasts 2 - 3 hours.  Sessions involve family, parent, and child activities designed to strengthen parent authority in the family, improve parent-child interactions, provide social support for parents, and build relationships among families from the same school or community.  The expected outcome is improvement in child behavior and social competence leading to decreases in high-risk behaviors such as aggression and violence.  Dr. Knox and LHA conducted the FAST Program in one zip code area in the city of Santa Ana, California with 282 Latino families (140 intervention and 142 control).  One child in each family (average age 9.5 years) was the focus of the intervention.  In this study no differences were found between children in the two groups on aggression, however, significant improvements in social problem solving skills and perceptions of collective efficacy in intervention children.  A second study used focus groups to look at other possible outcomes that were not measured in the first study.  All parents participating in the focus groups reported that relationships and communication with their  children were greatly improved after participating in the FAST Program.  Focus group parents also stated that the program had the greatest impact on the behavior of older children in the family, which suggests possible sleeper effects on intervention children as they transition into adolescence.  Thus, long-term follow up will be essential in determining the full effects of the intervention. Several manuscripts are in preparation or have been submitted for publication.  Published manuscripts will be available in the near future.

Parent Needs Assessment Survey

Lead Investigator:  Dr. Robert Nash Parker and Dr. Pedro R. Payne

This survey was done as part of the strategic planning efforts of the Perris Youth Crime Prevention Red Team, a multi-agency “think tank” group in the city of Perris, CA.  The Perris Red Team wanted to learn more about what parents thought about  the adequacy, both in quantity and quality, of things such as public services for families, programs for youth, community safety, child care, churches, and housing. A 56 item survey was distributed to over 5, 000 parents of kindergarten through 8th grade children in one Perris school district.  The results of the survey revealed 10 major areas of concern - a feeling that individuals cannot effect events in the community; availability and affordability of child day care; lack of services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse; availability of legal services; quality of rental housing; safety of children going to and from school; adequate programs for arts and culture; safety in recreational areas; variety in recreational programs for children; and employment for teenagers.  Although the survey is complete, the Perris Red Team is currently in the process of developing a pamphlet or small booklet that will address parent concerns in the form of lists of community resources, suggestions for interventions, and ways to work with community leaders or policy makers to encourage desired changes in their neighborhoods and in their city.

Click here for final report on survey results

Agency Dissemination Survey

Lead Investigator:  Dr. Thomas Backer

This small-scale study was designed to learn more about how schools and agencies serving youth in one Southern California county use evidence based youth violence prevention programs (EBPs).  We also wanted to know what information or assistance they needed to be more effective in doing so.  Eighty school districts and non-profit organizations were surveyed via an online survey.  Participants also participated in personal interviews.  This study revealed numerous challenges that limit schools and agencies in the implementation of EBPs such as funding; staff time; program fidelity; and adapting programs to fit local needs to name a few.  Advantages of using EBPs that emerged were not having to “re-invent the wheel”;  promotion of evaluation and accountability; and funders require use of EBPs. 

Click here for full report on the findings and recommendations

Arlanza Neighborhood Survey

Lead Investigator:  Dr. Robert Nash Parker

This survey was conducted in order to determine community awareness, utilization and satisfaction of the Eric M. Solander Arlanza Family Resource Center.  The center is part of a larger pilot project of the City of Riverside to address youth violence issues in the city.  The concept of the center is to provide a needy community a “one-stop-shopping” place where youth and families could get immediate service or referrals for services such as child care, health and dental screening, classes in parenting, ESL, or anger management, clothing or food assistance, and the like. 

Click here for a report on the results of this survey

Best Foot Forward

Lead Investigator:  Dr. Cynthia Hudley

Best Foot Forward was a pilot study conducted by Dr. Cynthia Hudley of the University of California Santa Barbara. The purpose of this study was to refine and expand Dr. Hudley’s 1993 "Brain Power" program, a school-based program that focused on social skills and academic progress of ethnic minority youth. The research goals of the project were to assess the quality of student and site leader understanding and the quality of program implementation fidelity in the program sites. Data analyses indicated that leader knowledge of the curriculum is directly related to student outcomes, and leader attitudes are related to leader knowledge. These findings suggest that comprehensive staff training and follow up instructional support may be the most critical tool in effective dissemination and implementation, influencing both leader attitudes and knowledge.


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