This proposal seeks STTR funding for the preliminary development of a Web-based screening tool to help elementary school health and mental health service providers quickly and accurately assess students' risk and protective factor status for adolescent substance abuse. Early identification and targeting of known predictors of adolescent substance abuse reduce its prevalence and its negative health, social, and academic consequences. The instrument will seek information from 3rd - 5th graders, and their parents and teachers. It will assess the social environment, individual characteristics, and functioning of children. Internet and computer technology will be used to increase there liability and validity of the child sell-report data, and facilitate the collection and scoring of data from children, parents, and teachers.
Aims of Phase I are to: (a) create a preliminary version of the screening tool, (b)develop supplemental administrative and training materials, and (c) pre-test the child report section. Phase I tasks include developing the list of questionnaire items, computer formats, and supplemental materials. Expert consultation and cognitive testing with children will be used to evaluate the quality and feasibility of the tool. In Phase II, the preliminary instrument and administrative procedures will undergo pilot testing and large-scale psychometric testing.
The proposed screening tool has commercial applications among health and mental health practitioners working in elementary schools. Taking advantage of schools' existing investment in Internet technology, the tool will make comprehensive risk and protective factor screenings more feasible than existing options. The range of domains assessed, the child self-report component, computer scoring, and rapidly available individual and group results designed to guide intervention planning are unique and meet a market need.
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