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REDUCING RISKS FOR Mental Disorders: FRONTIERS FOR PREVENTIVE INTERVENTION RESEARCH
percent) were rated as having serious adjustment problems at age 12. Moreover, significantly more control boys had initiated minor delinquency by age 12 (Tremblay, Vitaro, Bertrand, LeBlanc, Beauchesne, Boileau, and David, 1992; Tremblay et al., 1991).
Programs Aimed at Enhancing Academic Achievement
Apparently reciprocal relationships between achievement and early depression have led some researchers to explore interventions focused on the promotion of academic achievement as a preventive intervention (Kellam and Rebok, 1992). Similarly, the evidence that poor academic achievement predicts both later drug abuse and delinquency (Hawkins, Catalano, and Miller, 1992) has led to the investigation of enhancement of academic competence as a component of preventive interventions.
Several intervention studies have focused on the enhancement of academic competence during the elementary grades. The use of certain methods of instruction in classrooms has been shown in experimental studies to improve achievement. Several studies have linked achievement gains to the amount of active instruction and direct supervision of learning provided by teachers (Brophy and Good, 1986). Some intervention trials have trained teachers in the use of effective instructional methods, including the use of interactive and “mastery” teaching methods, in which teachers frequently monitor students' performance. Teachers are trained to use the results of these frequent assessments to adjust instruction or provide more intensive support, such as tutoring or cooperative learning groups, to increase the academic and cognitive development of all students, including those at risk of poor achievement.
An experimental community-based study, *Community Epidemiological Preventive Intervention: Mastery Learningand Good Behavior Game, of mastery learning methods in first grade in 19 ethnically and sociodemographically mixed public schools in Baltimore, Maryland, found positive effects on reading achievement (Kellam and Rebok, 1992). Moreover, virtually all of the reading gains occurred among students initially showing depressive symptoms and among those with initially low reading scores, suggesting that this universal intervention may have greater benefits for those at risk for depressive disorders. In addition, the Good Behavior Game program had positive effects on aggressive and shy behavior, with the largest effects found for the most aggressive children.
Learning and achievement problems have also been addressed in tandem with peer rejection through selective interventions targeted at children with both risk factors. Individual tutoring has been shown to produce significant improvements in reading and math achievement