The proposed research will implement and evaluate a widely-used comprehensive prevention program based on family systems theory and research on risk and protective factors. Families and Schools Together (FAST) is a collaborative school and community-linked program for multiple families. It is aimed at third graders and their families to effect precursors of drug abuse, delinquency and school failure. While demonstration funding from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and other sources has been awarded, FAST has never undergone a rigorous evaluation trial. Working in the Milwaukee Public Schools, we propose blocked random assignment of 20 classrooms, with a total of 600 students/families, to a """"""""service as usual"""""""" control condition, or to FAST. The classrooms will represent high risk neighborhoods, with approximately one-third each predominantly African American, Latino, and white populations. Parents and children will be recruited from classrooms to complete an assessment battery examining child behavior, family stressors, family coping and problem-solving skills, social networks and supports, drug and alcohol use, and communication patterns. Families in the FAST condition will attend the eight-week program one evening per week. FAST is designed to improve familial communication patterns, parent-child bonding, social networks between families, and reduce family stress. Following this, families will participate in 2 years of monthly self-help groups designed to build social networks and neighborhood cohesiveness. The proposed research will measure short- and long-term (3 + years with provision for 8 years of follow-up effects of FAST on youth and their families relative to control families, and collect process data on program implementation and participation. Hierarchical linear modeling techniques will evaluate the impact of the program on students/families within classrooms at multiple assessment points. There is adequate statistical power to assess the impact of the program on each ethnic group and on youth with relatively high and moderate/low specific risk profiles. At the fourth assessment--3 years after the program--we will review children's court and school records to determine the rate of court involvement and school performance. We will pay participants for completion of the assessment battery and standard FAST incentives for participating in the program. Results will be disseminated in peer-reviewed journals, project reports, and used in future program development.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
Program Officer
Robertson, Elizabeth
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University of Wisconsin Madison
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Warren, Keith; Moberg, D Paul; McDonald, Lynn (2006) FAST and the arms race: the interaction of group aggression and the families and schools together program in the aggressive and delinquent behaviors of inner-city elementary school students. J Prim Prev 27:27-45
Warren, Keith; Schoppelrey, Susan; Moberg, D Paul et al. (2005) A model of contagion through competition in the aggressive behaviors of elementary school students. J Abnorm Child Psychol 33:283-92
McCubbin, H I; McCubbin, M A; Thompson, A I et al. (1999) Contextualizing family risk factors for alcoholism and alcohol abuse. J Stud Alcohol Suppl 13:75-8