Therapeutic Schools: Affect Management & HIV Prevention. Adolescents are at risk for HIV because of sexual and drug behavior initiated during this developmental period. One subgroup of adolescents at particular risk for HIV is those with psychiatric disorders. Unfortunately, adolescents with significant psychological distress, emotional reactivity and/or diagnosed psychiatric disorders are less likely then their peers to benefit from the frequently used skills-based interventions. It appears that emotional liability during """"""""real life"""""""" sexual situations, disrupts skill-based learning. Preliminary evidence suggests the value of addressing non-cognitive factors by targeting Affect Management during sexual situations. This project will implement and evaluate interventions for a total of 420 adolescents with psychiatric disorders who are in therapeutic school settings in Rhode Island and Chicago. Affect Management and skills-based interventions will be compared to a didactic standard of care control group and their relative efficacies determined. Both interventions, informed by the Social Personal Framework, will have a large focus on skills of special relevance for adolescents with psychiatric disorders. The Affect Management intervention will include non-cognitive factors to target distress in sexual situations. This project will be conducted at two sites (Rhode Island and Chicago) and will include ten group sessions of one hour duration each, with two booster sessions. The relative efficacy of the Affect Management intervention will be established by an increase in the self-report of condom use. Additional goals include improving affect regulation to reduce susceptibility risk behavior opportunity and to sustain the intervention effects. This study will partner with schools to produce an intervention that fully incorporates important non-cognitive factors in order to have utility with adolescents with psychiatric disorders. The results are capable of impacting the large number of teens in therapeutic settings treatment as well as informing other interventions with high-risk youth.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-AARR-8 (03))
Program Officer
Brouwers, Pim
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Rhode Island Hospital
United States
Zip Code
Brown, Larry K; Whiteley, Laura; Houck, Christopher D et al. (2017) The Role of Affect Management for HIV Risk Reduction for Youth in Alternative Schools. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 56:524-531
Javdani, Shabnam; Sadeh, Naomi; Donenberg, Geri R et al. (2017) Affect recognition among adolescents in therapeutic schools: relationships with posttraumatic stress disorder and conduct disorder symptoms. Child Adolesc Ment Health 22:42-48
Swenson, Rebecca R; Houck, Christopher; Sarfati, David et al. (2015) HIV Testing Among Teens Attending Therapeutic Schools: Having a Personal Source of Information About HIV/AIDS Matters! J Prim Prev 36:155-66
Rodriguez, Erin M; Donenberg, Geri R; Emerson, Erin et al. (2014) Family environment, coping, and mental health in adolescents attending therapeutic day schools. J Adolesc 37:1133-42
Houck, Christopher; Swenson, Rebecca; Donenberg, Geri et al. (2014) Adolescents' emotions prior to sexual activity and associations with sexual risk factors. AIDS Behav 18:1615-23
Brown, Larry K; Houck, Christopher; Donenberg, Geri et al. (2013) Affect management for HIV prevention with adolescents in therapeutic schools: the immediate impact of project balance. AIDS Behav 17:2773-80
Brown, Larry K; Houck, Christopher; Lescano, Celia et al. (2012) Affect regulation and HIV risk among youth in therapeutic schools. AIDS Behav 16:2272-8
Donenberg, Geri R; Emerson, Erin; Brown, Larry K et al. (2012) Sexual experience among emotionally and behaviorally disordered students in therapeutic day schools: an ecological examination of adolescent risk. J Pediatr Psychol 37:904-13
Houck, Christopher D; Nugent, Nicole R; Lescano, Celia M et al. (2010) Sexual abuse and sexual risk behavior: beyond the impact of psychiatric problems. J Pediatr Psychol 35:473-83