DARE to be You Research and Publications

Brief description of research and results for:

Preschool Families
Bridges Families
Care to Wait Families
School and After-School

Parent Log Sheet Form
Youth Log Sheet Form





Findings on the DTBY Program for Families with Preschool Youth

The five-year program involved 780 parents, 498 in the intervention group and 282 in the control group from four sites with diverse cultures in Colorado: 1) the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe; 2) a primarily rural Hispanic population in the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado; 3) an urban, low income community in Colorado Springs with African-American, Asian, Hispanic and Anglo families; and 4) a tri-cultural and economically stressed community in Southwestern Colorado, Montezuma County, with many teen parents.

This program focused on reducing drug and alcohol use through a multi-level primary prevention program aimed at strengthening intermediate resiliency factors in 2- to 5-year-old youth and their high risk families.  The target populations are reached directly:

  • Parents and other family members filling a parent=s role participated in over 20 hours of training workshops and parent/child activities supported by yearly reinforcing sessions of eight hours and, in some sites, monthly AFTER-DARE support groups or community activities to:

    1) increase their knowledge of child development,
    2) increase satisfaction with the parenting role (increased 15.5%), personal sense of worth and competence (increased 13.5% over control families), sense of parenting efficacy and positive relationships with children (6.5% over control familes),
    3) decrease external locus of control and stress management (decreased 10.6%), child-blaming attributions and to increase decision-making and problem solving skills and ability to provide positive role models,
    4) provide a social support system to be effective parents (increases with satisfaction with support system were statistically significant) and self-sufficiency (families increased income average of $2000, control families='income dropped),
    5) increase nurturing family management styles and decrease harsh punishment, (16% increase in child-nurturing practices compared to 2% drop in controls.  Program families show a 13.7% decrease in harsh punishment compared to .3% in controls),
    6) provide special strategies to increase their children's sense of self-worth, internal locus of control, communication and problem solving skills.

  • Target children and their siblings participated in youth workshops corresponding and simultaneous to the parent workshops to enhance their self-esteem, internal locus of control, communication, empathy and problem solving skills as intermediate steps to increasing their attainment of appropriate developmental tasks.  (Children in the program increased their developmental level by 6% more than control peers.)
  • Child care personnel that impact the target children receive training as with parents.
  • Significant other caregivers in the community (from a minimum of six local agencies) also receive strategies and training.

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Findings on the Bridges Program for Families and Teachers

The goal of the DARE to be You Bridge Program was to promote early school achievement and reduce problem behaviors through the participation of families with youth in the transition stages of Kindergarten through 2nd grade. Families participate with their teachers in a neutral and supportive setting for 11 weeks, 2 hours of class + ½ hour social time each week. The objectives were to enhance: (a) collaboration between school and parent; (b) parents’ self-efficacy, mental health, and rearing practices related to student success; (c) children’s school readiness and protective factors against substance abuse; and (d) teachers’ perceptions of children and their families.

In this quasi-experimental design, a multiethnic sample of parents (N = 374), their children in K-2nd grades (N = 221), and the children’s teachers (N = 92) were randomly assigned, at the classroom level, to a control group or a 20-hour intervention. Intervention effects were observed in (a) improved school-parent relationships, (b) increased parent involvement, (c) better parent mental health and self-efficacy, and (d) children’s more favorable impressions of school as well as improved social skills and reduced aggression. The results support the viability of community-based programs to promote early school success in at-risk families.

Two diverse sites were used to test program impact and replicability. In Site 1, families (n = 172) and teachers (n = 39) were recruited from K-2 classes at 10 schools in a rural county in the Southwest. For Site 2, families (n = 174) and teachers (n = 53) were recruited from a nearby Native American school district that included 12 schools with K-2 classrooms. The two sites were 40-100 miles apart. Recruitment was intended to produce a diverse risk profile, with 80% having 2-7 risk factors (e.g., low income, single parent, teen mother). Families with children entering K–2nd grade were the focus because this age is a key transitional time into school. Of the focal children, 35% were in kindergarten, 33% were in 1st grade, and 32% were in 2nd grade.

Of the caregiver participants, 64% were mothers and 22% were fathers, with the remainder being another relative. Most (61%) of the parent participants were married, 11% were single, and 17% were cohabiting. Related to eligibility for welfare, 28% indicated that they received TANF. The caregivers had completed M = 12.60 years of education, and their average age was 35.46 (range = 19-73). Most of the children’s teachers were female (96%); 52% had a bachelor’s degree, 37.5% had a Master’s degree, and 2.5% had an associate’s degree. In terms of ethnicity, 12% of parents at Site 1 identified as Native American, 15% as Hispanic, and 73% as White. At Site 2, 99% of parents self-identified as Native American. All Site 1 teachers reported being White; 8% also identified with one other ethnicity. Of the teachers at Site 2, 90% were Native American.

The evaluation of the DARE to be You Bridges program showed that the program had important and significant effects in several areas that are linked to providing increased bonding to and success in school and long term protective factors against substance abuse, school dropout and even violence.

Results for family members. 329 adult family members participated in the DARE to be You Bridges program along with 221 children (more than one parent/adult family member was recruited for each child). Ninely two teachers participated in the study.

Parental efficacy:

One of the primary objectives of DARE to be You is to enhance parents’ sense of efficacy as a person and as a parent. On a measure of parents’ feelings of self-competence in the parental role, there were significant increases with time. The intervention group improved more than did the control group at the 12- and 18-month follow-ups, especially for those who had attended more workshops (p = .02).

Parental mental health:

On a measure of depression as well as a measure of parenting stress, those in the intervention group decreased while those in the control group increased, a difference that was significant at the 12- and 18-month follow-ups (p<.05). The effect for depression was somewhat larger (p = .009) for parents who had attended more of the DTBY workshops. Parents also reported on their satisfaction with their social support. The intervention group increased in their support satisfaction but the control group decreased, a difference that was significant at all follow-ups (p<.005). Thus, the DTBY Bridges program provided broad, substantial mental health benefits to participants.

Family-School Relationships

Parents completed a measure of their involvement in their children’s education, which included volunteering at school, attendance at school functions, and support at home. Over time, parents in both groups became more involved, but this was especially true of the intervention group: a trend (not quite statistically significant) was observed at the 12-month follow-up. As well, parents reported on their perceptions of how involved they should be in their children’s education as well as on various aspects of family-school relationships, such as parent-teacher communication, how much power teachers versus parents should have in making decisions about children’s education, and how supportive and encouraging the school is to families. Parent-teacher communication increased with time in both groups, and this was somewhat more true for parents in the intervention group at the 12-month follow-up. As the 12-month follow-up, parents in the intervention group reported the school to be a more welcoming environment for families and they perceived more of a family-school alliance at this time, compared to minimal change in the control group; these differences were statistically significant or nearly so. Parents who had attended more DTBY workshops also perceived more of an alliance with the school and felt more encouraged to be involved in their children’s school (p < .08) than did parents with less dosage of the intervention.

Child-Rearing Practices

Family caregivers completed six different measures of child-rearing practices. On the two measures of democratic, nurturant disciplinary practices – use of reasoning, consequences, and so forth – parents showed significant increases with time and on one of the measures, there was a trend (ns)for the intervention group to show an even greater increase in child-centered practices than in the control group.

Child Behavior and Adjustment

In the children,s surveys, favorable perceptions of the school increased significantly at each follow-up for the intervention group, and remained stable for the control group, a difference that was statistically significant, p> .01 at 12 and 18 months. This intervention effect is quite important given recent research showing that increased school engagement in grades 1-3 is a strong protective factor into adolescence in terms of school dropout and substance abuse.

The teacher-reported data on aggression and activity level show significant trend to decrease across time. Second teacher-reported children’s social skills (self-control and cooperation) improved more in the intervention group than in the control group. These changes in teacher-reported children’s social competence were statistical trends when we divide the families into intervention versus control groups. However, when we divide the sample by whether the teachers were in the intervention or control group, then these trends become statistically significant. P< .05. That is, when teachers were in the intervention group, they were more likely to see the children they reported on as more socially skilled and as less aggressive over time.

Results for Teachers. 94 teachers participated.

Positive perceptions and relationships with the families and students an ability to identify strengths in the participating families.

Teachers reported decreases across time in aggression in the intervention students. Teachers also reported that intervention children showed more increases in social skills (self-control and cooperation). When the teachers and the students are both in the experimental groups, the differences in perceptions between control and experimental children becomes statistically significant (Experimental teachers perceive experimental children as statistically significantly higher in social skills). Interviews by evaluation staff also show that teachers feel a much stronger relationship with the families, and more support by them, after participating together in the DTBY Bridges program.

Teachers ability to empathize with cultural differences.

Although this was not measured directly with pre and post surveys, the confidential interviews done by evaluation staff and steering committee members with both teachers and parents showed that there was definitely an increase in empathy for the participating parents. The most generalizable comment being how much they had in common and a pervasive sense of mutual support going both ways.

Willingness to involve families in their children’s relationships. Teachers participating in the program maintained or increased their endorsement of a collaborative relationship with parents whereas control teachers beliefs moved, over time, in the direction of believing that schools were more responsible for children’s education and less willingness to involve parents.

Table 1: Summary of Behavior Outcomes

Indicator   Significance over controls at 12 and 18 months Reference
Parental efficacy Supports original model P = .02 And 2.
Parental Satisfaction with support Supports Original model P<.005 And 2.
Parents more encouraged to be involved with school Additional measure for this adaptation. P<.08  
Parental Depression/Stress Additional measure for this adaptation P<.05  
Child centered disciple Supports original model Positive trend, ns  
Child Behavior by teacher Additional measures for this intervention <P=.08  
Reduced Agression Increased social skills      
Child positive perception of School Additional measure for this intervention P<.01  

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Findings on Care to Wait Family Program

The goal of the DARE to be You Care to Wait program is to promote abstinence in teens by a) enhancing individual resilience factors  in teens– particularly self-efficacy, family relationships and family communication, communication skills, especially peer refusal skills – and b) strengthening their families – notably family communication especially about intimacy and sex, and monitoring. Youth (12 to 14 year olds) and their families were recruited in Denver and Montezuma County, Colorado, and then were randomly assigned to the Care to Wait intervention or a control group. The Care to Wait participants (adult family members and their 12-14 year old teens) completed 20-24 hours of workshops together that involve hands-on activities, discussion, role plays, and home work. Portions of each workshop were devoted to joint parent-youth activities, but over half of the curriculum was delivered to youth and family members in their separate age-related groups.

Data were collected from 269 family members and 249 youth at baseline; follow-up data were collected at 6, 12, 18, and 30 months. Analyses showed that the various measures were correlated in ways that are consistent with the objectives and logic model.

Key objectives for youth included enhancing personal efficacy, better relationships and communication with their parents, increased knowledge and belief that they can use refusal skills and will have a stronger commitment to abstinence and show a longer period of non-sexual activity than their control peers through baseline and follow up measures.  The program was highly successful in meeting these objectives: youth in the intervention group showed significant improvements in their ability to deal with peer pressure (knowledge about and efficacy for using refusal skills), higher commitment to abstinence and lower levels of sexual risk taking than the control group. 

Key objectives for parents included increasing parental efficacy, comfort with as well as time spent specifically in the areas of communicating with youth about abstinence, improvement in family relationships and increases in parental monitoring.  Parents in the Care to Wait program showed significant improvements, compared to controls in parental efficacy.  Care to Wait parents talked to their teens more often about intimacy and sex, and were more likely to monitor their teens’ activities

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Findings for Teachers and Youth in School/After-School Programs

Impact on Teachers’ Self-Efficacy.  Teachers receiving DARE to be You training and implementing the curriculum were compared with control teachers over a one-year period (total number 241).  The two groups examined were similar at first but showed significant differences nine months later.  Teachers involved with DTBY significantly increased in the areas of personal teaching efficacy and all four self-perception measures (p<.00001) with the largest effect being on satisfaction and competence in the teacher role.  In each instance, increases were observed in the DTBY group compared to large declines in the comparison group. 

Teachers taking the training and using the curriculum showed greater increases in target variables (efficacy, satisfaction, etc) compared with teachers taking the training and not using the curriculum or using it only a few times. (p>.05).

Youth, ages 8-17, participated in three different program formats using the DARE to be You curriculum:

  • DARE-Pairs: A family based program for families with youth 6-11 years old.  Parents and 6-11 year old children (siblings also invited) participate in family workshops for 10 weeks, 2 hours per week.  Parents and youth participate in several family activities and then parents and youth participate in separate age-based learning experiences.
  • Juvenile Diversion Program: A family based program for families with youth 8-17.  Youth that are one-time offenders are referred to the DARE to be You program.  Their fee is waived if they bring their families as an incentive to involve the parents.  The program consists of 10 weeks, 2 hours/week of interactive learning experiences for parents and youth together and some time where youth and parents work separately.
  • Summer Adventure Camp: A camp that focuses on valuing the differing cultures in the four corners area based in the DARE to be You curriculum philosophy.  Youth, 8-12, participate in activities and field trips over seven weeks, three days per week.  Families and community members volunteer to share cultural and family values, hobbies and experiences.

As a component of each of these programs, pre and post surveys were administered to the youth participants (over 8).  A global self-concept instrument, 'What Am I Like" (Connell and Harter) was administered as part of the survey design in all three programs.  This is a global self concept instrument with subscales in several domains.  The scale has normative and validity data available.  For the purpose of this report, the global scale and individual items were analyzed for the combined groups and for individual groups.  The subscales for domains and differences across ages has not been analyzed at this point.  Only participants that completed both pre and post surveys were included in this analysis.

Global self concept across combined groups (n=42 cases) shows a highly significant increase in global self concept, (p<.001).  Sixteen items for the combined groups show significant increases (p<.1).

Youth participating in the Juvenile Diversion program (n=26 cases) show an increase in global self concept that is significant (p<.01).  Fourteen items show increases significant at the .1 level.

Youth participating in the DARE-Pairs and Summer Camp (n=16) show an increase in global self concept that is significant (p<.1).  Eight items show increases at the 0.1 level.

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Findings on Community Programs

Results of baseline and followup surveys, over a two year period, of experimental youth (receiving DARE to be You program through community clubs involving community teens) and control peers are described.  Three hundred youth, 8-12 years old were surveyed with approximately 150 in both groups.

Behavior Changes show delay of onset or prevention:

  • Smoking behaviors - control groups reported 14.9% higher use of tobacco than experimental group (p>.05).  There was no significant difference between groups at the time of pretest.
  • Alcohol use - the control group showed a significant increase of 14.4% (p>.05) where the experimental use was much lower - 7.5% (not statistically significant).

Analysis of the entire population of youth present in groups having the program regardless of presence at intervention indicates that the impact of training parents and teen leaders is significant in reducing the number of youth who begin to smoke or use alcohol.

  • Smoking: control group increased use 15.5% while experimental group increased only 1.7% in the two years (14.7% difference, p>.005).
  • Alcohol: control group increased use 23.3% as compared with experimental clubs  at 8.6% (14.7% difference, p>.001)

Attitude and Knowledge indicators show significant increases in internal locus of control (p>.01), assertiveness (p>.05), peer resistance skills (p<.001) and ability to think of choices (p<.001).

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