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Project SUPPORT

Scientific Rating:
1
Well-Supported by Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
High
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Project SUPPORT has been rated by the CEBC in the area of: Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence: Services for Victims and their Children.

Target Population: Families (mothers and children) who had recently sought refuge at domestic violence shelters, with children aged 4-9 exhibiting clinical levels of elevations on externalizing problems (e.g., disruptive, defiant behaviors).

For children/adolescents ages: 4 – 9

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 4 – 9

Brief Description

Project SUPPORT was developed to address clinically elevated child conduct problems (i.e., disruptive, oppositional behaviors) specifically in individual families (mother and child(ren)) where the mother had sought refuge at a woman's shelter because of domestic violence. The intervention, which occurs right after the family moves out of the shelter and into a home, includes two main components: providing instrumental and emotional support to the mother during her transition from the women's shelter and teaching the mother to implement a set of child management and nurturing skills that have been shown to be effective in the treatment of clinical levels of conduct problems.

Program Goals:

The program representative did not provide information about the program’s goals.

Essential Components

Project SUPPORT is a home-based intervention that includes two primary components:

  • Providing instrumental and emotional support to the mother during her transition from the women's shelter.
  • Teaching the mother to implement a set of child management and nurturing skills that have been shown to be effective in the treatment of clinical levels of conduct problems.

Project SUPPORT delivery method:

  • Therapists visit families weekly to conduct the sessions.
  • The therapists are accompanied by child mentors who interact with the children in the home and model pro-social behavior. The child mentors are advanced undergraduate or post-baccalaureate students who receive specialized training.
  • The child mentors actively work to build positive, supportive relationships with the children in their charge. This goal is accomplished by the mentor's generous and appropriate use of praise and positive attention. Child mentors are also proficient in using all of the child management skills taught in the Project SUPPORT intervention.

Child Management and Nurturing Skills Component

  • Directly target child problems by teaching mothers to use child management and nurturing skills effectively.
  • Through direct instruction and practice (via demonstration, role-plays, exercises, and homework assignments), mothers are taught skills with which to communicate more effectively with their children, facilitate a warm and supportive relationship with their children, increase pro-social and appropriate child behavior, and decrease inappropriate or problematic child behavior.
  • Adapts to the needs of each family by systematically assessing each mother's beliefs, practices, and knowledge about parenting, each child's behavior patterns, and the relationships among family members.
  • Meets the family's specific needs, with a focus on using the child management and nurturing skills to address those needs.
  • Covers topics and teaches skills such as: developing realistic and age-appropriate expectations about children's behavior, playing with and listening to children, delivering contingent praise and positive attention, giving appropriate instructions and commands, delivering contingent negative consequences for noncompliance and aggressive behavior (teaching alternatives to yelling and hitting), setting limits, being consistent, providing good supervision, influencing children's beliefs and behavior, teaching by example, and understanding the effects of seeing violence (both in person and through the media).
  • Based on programs of other researchers and reviews of best practices, with our own augmentations to address the circumstances of children in violent, low-income families.

Social and Instrumental Support Component

  • Provides emotional support to the women during their transition from the shelter.
  • Helps mothers build support networks by linking them to community agencies and organizations.
  • Helps mothers obtain physical resources (e.g., financial help, furniture, household appliances) and social supports central to their efforts to become self-supporting.
  • Addresses safety concerns.
  • Trains mothers in decision-making and problem-solving skills.

Child/Adolescent Services

Project SUPPORT directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Externalizing problems at a clinical level.

Parent/Caregiver Services

Project SUPPORT directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Domestic violence victims who have lived in a women's shelter.

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Birth Family Home

Homework

Project SUPPORT includes a homework component:

Mothers practice parenting techniques between sessions.

Languages

Project SUPPORT does not have materials available in a language other than English.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

None are specifically required.

Minimum Provider Qualifications

  • Therapists – Master's level degree
  • Supervisors – PhD level degree

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
  • Dr. Ernest Jouriles
    phone: (214) 363-3162
Training is obtained:

Via phone consultation.

Number of days/hours:

Informal training/consultation is available to those who are interested.

Implementation Information

Since Project SUPPORT is highly rated on the Scientific Rating Scale, information was requested from the program representative on available pre-implementation assessments, implementation tools, and/or fidelity measures.

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Pre-Implementation Materials

There are pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Project SUPPORT as listed below:

There are no pre-implementation assessments to evaluate readiness.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for Project SUPPORT as listed below:

There are no fidelity measures.

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are implementation guides or manuals for Project SUPPORT as listed below:

There are no implementations tools for the program.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program is rated a "1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The program must have at least two rigorous randomized controlled trials with one showing a sustained effect of at least 1 year. The article(s) below that reports outcomes from an RCT showing a sustained effect of at least 1 year has an asterisk (*) at the beginning of its entry. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

Child Welfare Outcomes: Safety and Child/Family Well-Being

Show relevant research...

*Jouriles, E. N., McDonald, R., Spiller, L., Norwood, W. D., Swank, P. R., Stephens, N., ... & Buzy, W. M. (2001). Reducing conduct problems among children of battered women. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69(5), 774-785.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 36 families

Population:

  • Age range — Children between 4 and 9 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Mothers: 12 Latino, 11 African American, 10 Caucasian, 1 Asian American, and 2 Other.
  • Gender — Not Specified
  • Status — Women and children recruited from shelters.

Location / Institution: Texas

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
Women and their children were recruited from shelter programs. To meet study requirements, children had to have a diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or conduct disorder (CD) based on Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) criteria. Women and children in the intervention condition were provided with support services and parent training. Families in the comparison condition were encouraged to use existing community and shelter services. Mothers were assessed for history of violence during the previous 12 months using the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS). Follow-up measures included the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Symptom Checklist-90 to assess mothers’ psychological distress, as well as video-taped observation of child management skills. Compared with families receiving services as usual, children in the intervention condition improved at a faster rate, the proportion of conduct problems was diminished, and mothers displayed greater improvement in child management skills. The authors note that although children’s behavior improved, CBCL externalizing scores remained at clinical levels.

Length of post-intervention follow-up: 16 months.

*McDonald, R., Jouriles, E. N., & Skopp, N. A. (2006). Reducing conduct problems among children brought to women’s shelters: Effects 24 months following termination of services. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(1), 127-136.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 30 families

Population:

  • Age range — 4 to 9 years at intervention
  • Race/Ethnicity — Mothers: 11 African American, 9 Caucasian, 8 Latino, 1 Asian American, and 1 Other
  • Gender — Not Specified
  • Status — Women and children recruited from shelters.

Location / Institution: Texas

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
Note: This study uses the same sample as Jouriles, et al., 2001. Mothers in the Project Support condition received parent training targeted at child conduct problems. Follow-up assessments were conducted during home visits. Mothers reported on children’s disruptive behavior during an interview which included the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Mothers also responded to items from the Health Resources Inventory to assess children’s happiness and social relationships and to items from the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) to assess their own aggression towards their children. Finally, they reported on contact with their partner and any recurrence of physical violence. Children in the Project Support condition were less likely to be having conduct problems, and had higher happiness scores. Mothers in the treatment condition reported less aggression and were less likely to have returned to an abusive partner. There were no group differences in recurrence of physical violence. The authors note that the study’s measures of children’s adjustment and of family functioning were limited.

Length of post-intervention follow-up: 24 months.

*Jouriles, E. N., McDonald, R., Rosenfield, D., Stephens, N., Corbitt-Shindler, D., & Miller, P. C. (2009). Reducing conduct problems among children exposed to intimate partner violence: A randomized clinical trial examining effects of Project SUPPORT. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77(4), 705-717.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 66

Population:

  • Age range — 4 to 9 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 39% African American, 39% Caucasian, 20% Hispanic, and 2% Asian/Pacific Islander
  • Gender — 50% Male and 50% Female
  • Status — Participants were mothers who were exposed to intimate partner violence and their children with disruptive behavior problems.

Location / Institution: Six urban and suburban domestic violence shelters

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
The study evaluated the effectiveness of Project SUPPORT in a sample of women and children recruited from domestic violence shelters. Participants were randomly assigned to the Project SUPPORT or no services control group and were assessed six times over a 20-month period for children’s disruptive behaviors using the Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 1.5-5 (CBCL/1.5-5) or Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 6-18 (CBCL/6-18),Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory (ECBI), and the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R). Results indicated that children in families in the intervention group exhibited greater reductions in conduct problems. Mothers in the intervention group displayed greater reductions in inconsistent and harsh parenting behaviors and psychiatric symptoms. Changes in mothers’ parenting and psychiatric symptoms accounted for a sizable proportion of Project SUPPORT’s effects on child conduct problems at the end of treatment. Study limitations include the relatively small sample size.

Length of post-intervention follow-up: 12 months.

References

Ezell, E., McDonald, R., & Jouriles, E. N. (2000). Helping children of battered women: A review of research, sampling of programs, and presentation of Project Support. In J. Vincent & E. Jouriles (Eds.), Domestic violence: Guidelines for research-informed practice (pp.144-170). London: Kingsley Publishers.

McDonald, R., Jouriles, E. N., & Minze, L. (2011). Interventions for young children exposed to intimate partner violence. In Sandra Graham-Bermann and Alicia Levendosky (Eds.), A developmental approach to understanding and treating intimate partner violence (pp 109-131). Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Minze, L., McDonald, R., & Jouriles, E. N. (2011). Project Support: Reducing conduct problems of cChildren in violent families. In A. Rubin and D. Springer (Eds.), Programs and interventions for maltreated children and families at risk (pp 173-176). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Contact Information

Name: Renee McDonald, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: Southern Methodist University
Email:
Phone: (214) 768-1128
Fax: (214) 768-3910
Name: Ernest N. Jourlies
Agency/Affiliation: Southern Methodist University
Email:
Phone: (214) 768-2360
Fax: (214) 768-3910

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: July 2012

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2007

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: March 2007