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The long-term goal of the Fast Track Project is to test the effectiveness of a developmentally based sequence of interventions designed to prevent antisocial and related behavior problems. During the year 2003, all three cohorts at each of the four research sites completed the full intervention program scheduled through the tenth grade. Annual assessment of each cohort included multiple measures of functioning to assess reduction of negative outcomes, as well as improvement in the protective factors targeted in the intervention model. A variety of strategies were used to assess behavioral development, including parent and teacher reports, direct behavioral observation, peer ratings, child and youth self-reports, test performance, and archival school, police, and court records. The impact of the program on behavior problems involving conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, delinquent behavior, and other major adjustment problems were evaluated using standard psychiatric interviews with high-risk youth and their parents at the end of grades 3, 5, 6, 9, and 12. Measures of other problem behaviors, program implementation measures, measures of predictors of change, and family and school context were assessed for both the high-risk study sample and the normative sample at the same cohort-specific time points. The years that measures were administered to each cohort are listed in the "Instruments and Administration History" section of this website.
As much as possible, the same instruments have been maintained over time in order to track the developmental course of behavior. However, some instruments have been discontinued and others have been added over time, as appropriate to the developmental stages of the study sample. The instruments are listed alphabetically and described in detail in the Data Instruments and Administration History section of the Fast Track Project website; in the discussion and tables below, instruments are listed categorically, in terms of the conceptual categories identified in the project's research design. The goals and research strategies have evolved in accordance with the changing nature of behavior outcomes, age-appropriate intervention strategies, and the coordination of instruments in the adolescent phase with other longitudinal studies and with the Fast Track benefit-cost analysis. Therefore, the instruments are described separately for the elementary-school age and adolescent phases of the project in Tables 1 and 2 below.
Schools within each of four sites (Durham, NC; Nashville, TN; rural central PA; and Seattle, WA) were selected as high risk based on crime and poverty statistics of the neighborhoods that they served. Within each site, the schools were divided into multiple sets matched for demographics (size, percentage free or reduced lunch, ethnic composition), and the sets were randomly assigned to intervention and control conditions. Using a multiple-gating screening procedure that combined teacher and parent ratings of disruptive behavior (Lochman & CPPRG, 1995), all 9,594 kindergarteners across three cohorts (1991-93) in these 54 schools were screened initially for classroom conduct problems by teachers, using the Teacher Observation of Child Adjustment-Revised (TOCA-R) Authority Acceptance Score (Werthamer-Larsson, Kellam, & Wheeler, 1991). Those children scoring in the top 40% within cohort and site were then solicited for the next stage of screening for home behavior problems by the parents, using items from the Child Behavior Checklist (Achenbach, 1991a) and similar scales, and 91% agreed (n=3,274). The teacher and parent screening scores were then standardized and combined into a sum score, based on screening a representative sample of approximately 100 children within each site (which also served as a normative comparison) and then summed to yield a total severity-of-risk screen score. Children were selected for inclusion into the study based on this screen score, moving from the highest score downward until desired sample sizes were reached within sites, cohorts, and conditions. Deviations were made when a child failed to matriculate in the first grade at a core school (n=59) or refused to participate (n=75), or to accommodate a rule that no child would be the only girl in an intervention group. The outcome was that 891 children (n's = 445 for intervention and 446 for control) participated. Note that these levels of problems are defined relative to other children in these high-risk schools. On the kindergarten Teacher's Report Form of the Child Behavior Checklist (TRF; Achenbach, 1991b), which provides national norms, the average Externalizing T-score (available for 88% of the high risk sample) was 66.4, and 76% of these children scored in the clinical range (T-scores of 60 or higher). Children's screen scores in kindergarten have been found to be predictive of their externalizing behaviors in first grade (Lochman & CPPRG, 1995) and at the end of elementary school (Hill et al., 2004). The screening score had sufficient sensitivity and specificity in predicting externalizing behaviors five years later, at the end of elementary school, that it met criteria for identifying high risk children for preventive intervention (Hill et al, 2004).
The mean age of participants was 6.5 years (SD = 0.48) at the time of identification. Across all sites, the sample was primarily comprised of African American (51%) and European American (47%) participants, with 2% of other ethnicity ( e.g., Pacific Islander and Hispanic), and was gender mixed (69% boys). The sample was skewed toward socioeconomic disadvantage: 58% were from single-parent families, 29% of parents were high school dropouts, and 40% of the families were in the lowest socioeconomic class (representing unskilled workers) as scored by Hollingshead (1975). Only 32% of the sample was within the middle-class range (Hollingshead categories 2 and 3), in comparison to rates of up to 75% in these two categories in some community samples (e.g., Reinherz, Tanner, Berger, Beardslee, & Fitzmaurice, 2006).
In addition to the high risk sample, a stratified normative sample of 387 children was identified from the control schools to represent the population-normative range of risk scores (based on teacher ratings only) and was followed over time.
The Instruments and Administration History section of the Fast Track Project website contains a searchable catalog of the datasets collected and compiled as part of the Fast Track Project. The instruments are listed alphabetically, and arrayed according to the years that each instrument was administered to each cohort. The title of each instrument links directly to an abstract describing the instrument in terms of its source, variable definitions and response values, scaling procedures, and the characteristics of the resulting scales. The abstract also summarizes the Fast Track Data Center's recommendations for use of these scales in analyzing datasets derived from the instrument.
The instrument's abstract page provides a link to the corresponding technical report, which contains a description of the study sample administered for this instrument during each year of the study. The technical report also provides a summary analysis comparing the high-risk control group with the normative (low-risk) group. The analysis includes evaluation of differences between groups, item and scale means and standard deviations, and item and scale correlations.
Catalog information for instruments developed by the Fast Track Project includes either a screen image of the instrument as administered by laptop computer, or a listing of the contents of the scored dataset. Source information is given for measures developed outside of the project and adapted for use within Fast Track.
The data catalog's search engine queries the entire website for the terms entered, returning a list of documents scored on the basis of relevance to the query words or phrases. Keywords are included in the abstract for each instrument, in order to facilitate user searches for particular topics and sub-groups. A search also will yield links to relevant publications and their abstracts, as listed on the Publications page of the Fast Track Project website.
Example Citations of Online Information from the Website Would Include the Following:
Example of a Technical Report:
Godwin, J. (2004). Guns and Gangs Revised (Fast Track Project Technical Report). Available from the
Fast Track Project website: http://www.fasttrackproject.org
Example of an Instrument:
Dodge, K. A., Pettit, G. S., & Bates, J. E. (1995). Guns and gangs. Instrument created for the Child Development Project. Unpublished, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Example of the Data Collection:
Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group and the Fast Track Project. Fast Track Study Cumulative Data Files, 1992-2007 [Computer Files]. Durham, North Carolina: Fast Track Data Center, Duke University.
Furthermore, all written reports and publications using Fast Track data should contain the following acknowledgement:
This research is based on data from the study entitled ["Fast Track," or "Multi-Site Prevention of Adolescent Problem Behaviors," or "Multisite Prevention of Conduct Disorder"], supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Grants R18 MH48043, R18 MH50951, R18 MH50952, R18 MH50953, and R01 MH62988. The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the National Institute on Drug Abuse also have provided support through a memorandum of agreement with the NIMH. Department of Education Grant S184U30002 and NIMH Grants K05MH00797 and K05MH01027 also supported the study. The study was designed by the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group, which currently includes, in alphabetical order, Karen L. Bierman, Pennsylvania State University; Kenneth A. Dodge, Duke University; Mark T. Greenberg, Pennsylvania State University; John E. Lochman, University of Alabama; Robert J. McMahon, Simon Fraser University; and Ellen E. Pinderhughes, Tufts University.