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Eninger, L., Ferrer-Wreder, L., Eichas, K., Allodi Westling, M., Smedler, A-C., Olsson, T. M., Sedem, M., Ginner Hau, H., Herkner, B., & Domitrovich, C. E. Culture and young children’s social emotional competence: Findings and implications for the cultural adaptation of interventions. Symposium at the Society for Research on Child Development, Austin Texas, USA on April 8, 2017.

 SRCD Talk, April 2017 (9275 Kb) .

Background and research examples

Applied Developmental Science, also called "ADS", focuses on the real world or practical application of what we know about human development in order to better people's lives. ADS researchers develop and evaluate new interventions of various sorts, for example positive youth development programs. ADS researchers also examine the impact of existing policy and services on individuals across the lifespan, families, and communities.

ADS research is conducted in a spirit of collaboration with community members and actively seeks to promote respectful and sustainable university-community collaborations. ADS scholars often work across subfields within psychology as well as across disciplinary boundaries. Intervention Science, which is an interdisciplinary field in itself, is often fused with ADS research. Intervention Science has many goals, but two goals are closely aligned with ADS and these goals focus on the prevention of problem behaviors as well as the promotion of health and well-being, and optimal psychological functioning.

Work conducted in this research program offers examples of this fusion of Applied Developmental Science and Intervention Science. Researchers in the ADS program have written and conducted research about "effectiveness trials". Effectiveness studies are valuable in that the interventions are tested under real world conditions, with minimal involvement of scientists in program implementation. These types of studies are increasing in number and help us to understand how "hardy" or "effective" evidence-based interventions can be under a variety of circumstances.

For scholarly work in this area, see:

Ferrer-Wreder, L., Sundell, K., Eichas, K., & Habbi, M. (2015). An empirical test of a diffusion framework for school-based prevention: The 21 Swedish junior high school study. Journal of Community Psychology, 43(7), 811-831. DOI: 10.1002/jcop.21709 *Effectiveness trial.

Ferrer-Wreder, L., Montgomery, M. J., Lorente, C. C., & Habibi, M. (2014). Identity interventions for adolescents: Promoting optimal identity. In T. Gullotta & M. Bloom (Series Eds.), The encyclopedia of primary prevention and health promotion: Adolescent Volume, 2nd edition (pp. 1278-1287). New York: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-5999-6_183

Olsson, T. M., Ferrer-Wreder, L., & Eninger, L. (2014). Advancing school-based interventions through economic analysis. New Directions for Youth Development, 141, 117-123. DOI: 10.1002/yd.20091

Ferrer-Wreder, L. (2013). Advancing child and adolescent well-being through positive youth development and prevention programs. In Ben-Arieh, A., Frones, I., Casas, F., & Korbin, J.E. (Eds.), The Handbook of Child Well-Being (pp. 2035-3041). New York: Springer. DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-9063-8_164

Ferrer-Wreder, L., Adamson, L., Kumpfer, K. L., & Eichas, K. (2012). Advancing intervention science through effectiveness research: A global perspective. Child and Youth Care Forum, 41(2), 109-117. DOI: 10.1007/s10566-012-9173-y

Another area of scholarship evident in the ADS program is inquiry into how culture relates to human development and intervention effectiveness. For scholarly work in this area, see:

Lorente, C. C., & Ferrer-Wreder, L. (in press). Actualizing change with Roma youth and their communities: Theoretical and conceptual considerations. In R. Dimitrova, D. Sam, & L. Ferrer-Wreder (Eds.), Roma minority in a global context: Resources for positive youth development. Oxford University Press.  

Dimitrova, R., & Ferrer-Wreder, L. (2017). Resources for positive youth development of Roma ethnic minority across Europe. In N. Cabrera, & Leyendecker, B. (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Development of Minority Children. New York: Springer.

Hultin, H., Ferrer-Wreder, L., Eichas, K., Karlberg, M., Grosin, L., & Galanti, M. R. (2016). Psychometric properties of an instrument to measure social and pedagogical school climate among teachers (PESOC). Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research. Published On-Line December 20, 2016. DOI: 10.1080/00313831.2016.1258661

Galanti, M. R., Hultin, H., Dalman, C., Engström, K., Ferrer-Wreder, L., Forsell, Y., Karlberg, M., Lavebratt, C., Magnusson, C., Sundell, K., Zhou, J., Almroth, M., & Raffetti, E. (2016). School environment and mental health in early adolescence - a longitudinal study in Sweden (KUPOL). BMC Psychiatry, 16, 243. DOI: 10.1186/s12888-016-0919-1

Dimitrova, R., Ferrer-Wreder, L., & Galanti, M. R. (2015). Pedagogical and Social Climate in School Questionnaire: Factorial validity and reliability of the teacher version in Bulgaria. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 34(3), 282-288. DOI: 10.1177/0734282915595332  

Dimitrova, R., Ferrer-Wreder, L., & Trost, K. (2015). Intergenerational transmission of ethnic identity and life satisfaction of Roma minority adolescents and their parents. Journal of Adolescence, 45, 296-306.

Ferrer-Wreder, L., Sugimura, K., Trost, K., Poyrazli, S., Klingstedt, M. L., & Thomas, S. (2015). The intersection of culture, health and risk behaviors in emerging and young adults. In L. A. Jensen (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199948550.013.3

Sedem, M., & Ferrer-Wreder, L. (2015). Fear of the loss of honor: Implications of honor-based violence for the development of youth and their families. Child and Youth Care Forum, 44(2), 225-237. DOI: 10.1007/s10566-014-9279-5

Habibi, M., Tahmasian, K., & Ferrer-Wreder, L. (2014). Self-efficacy in Persian adolescents: Psychometric properties of a Persian version of the Self-Efficacy Questionnaire for Children (SEQ-C). International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation, 3(2), 93-105. DOI: 10.1037/a0036059

Ferrer-Wreder, L., & Thomas, S. (2012). Advancing a global understanding of adolescence. PsycCRITQUES, 57, 37.

Ferrer-Wreder, L., Trost, K., Lorente, C. C., & Mansoory, S. (2012). Personal and ethnic identity in Swedish adolescents and emerging adults. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 138, 61-86.

Drs. Ferrer-Wreder and Eninger are involved in a Swedish research study that deals with the question of how culture relates to intervention effectiveness. This research is being conducted in collaboration with communities. An example of this research is the preschool edition of PATHS trial (described below).

The preschool edition of Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies

Social emotional competence is instrumental to child and adolescent mental health. In early childhood, social emotional competence can include prosocial friendship skills, emotional knowledge and skill, social cognitive problem solving, as well as executive function related goals like self-control (Bierman et al., 2008). The goal of this project is to test the effects of the preschool edition of Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies intervention with Swedish children.

PATHS is an evidence-based American developed intervention to promote social and emotional competence in preschool children. The aim of the project is to protect preschool aged children's mental health by promoting social emotional competencies, factors which have been shown to reduce school maladjustment and mental health problems later in childhood.

Other research questions examined in this project focus on teacher innovation, implementation science, intervention sustainability research, as well as testing the utility and further developing  intervention cultural adaptation protocols. This study is conducted with research team members affiliated with Special Pedagogy, Psychology, or Social Work departments across several Swedish universities, as well as other international collaborators. Funding for this project is from the first combined research grant call by FORTE, Formas, the Swedish Research Council and VINNOVA on child and adolescent mental health.

Eninger, L., Ferrer-Wreder, L., Allodi Westling, M., Smedler, A-C., Ginner Hau, H., Olsson, T. M.,  Herkner, B., Sedem, M., & Domitrovich, C. (2015, July 1). Teacher Innovation and implementation in an ongoing Swedish effectiveness trial of preschool PATHS. Invited symposium presented at the International PATHS® Learning Conference (a pre-conference of the European Network for Social and Emotional Competence), Lisbon, Portugal.

Eninger, L., Ferrer-Wreder, L., Smedler A., Allodi Westling, M., Olsson, T.M., Ginner Hau, H., Trost, K., Herkner, B., & Domitrovich, C.E. (2014, October). The Swedish preschool PATHS trial: Implementation science best practices in an imported evidence-based intervention effectiveness study. Poster presented at the European Society for Prevention Research, Palma, Spain.

For other ADS related research examples see Drs. Ferrer-Wreder's and Eninger's personal home pages.