KDHRC contributes to the fields of public health, health communication, and organizational studies through our academic and mainstream publications.

The lynchpin of our dissemination effort is our Informing Public Health research brief series, which presents summaries of our key research advances. Follow us on social media to receive updates when we release new briefs and other KDHRC staff publications.

2014
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Assessing a Program to Improve Teachers' Ability to Effectively Implement Educational Accommodations for Chronically Ill Learners: Lessons from Project PENCIL

Louise C. Palmer, Rosa M. Steen, Eric C. Twombly, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication

Children with chronic illness comprise roughly 20 percent of school-aged students in the United States. Due to their illnesses, these students miss an average of 16 school days annually, compared with three days for typically healthy children. The combination of chronic illness and school absences negatively impacts such children’s academic and social experience. KDH Research & Communication developed Project PENCIL (Protecting the Educational Needs of Chronically Ill Learners), a training program to improve the ability of Kindergarten through fifth grade teachers to provide educational accommodations in their classrooms for children with chronic illnesses. This research brief presents the evaluation findings of Project PENCIL Teachers’ Guide prototype.

October 1, 2014
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Assessing a Program to Improve Teachers' Ability to Effectively Implement Educational Accommodations for Chronically Ill Learners: Lessons from Project PENCIL

Louise C. Palmer, Rosa M. Steen, Eric C. Twombly, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication

Children with chronic illness comprise roughly 20 percent of school-aged students in the United States. Due to their illnesses, these students miss an average of 16 school days annually, compared with three days for typically healthy children. The combination of chronic illness and school absences negatively impacts such children’s academic and social experience. KDH Research & Communication developed Project PENCIL (Protecting the Educational Needs of Chronically Ill Learners), a training program to improve the ability of Kindergarten through fifth grade teachers to provide educational accommodations in their classrooms for children with chronic illnesses. This research brief presents the evaluation findings of Project PENCIL Teachers’ Guide prototype.

October 1, 2014
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Evaluating an Effort to Improve Parents' Ability to Obtain Educational Services For Their Chronically Ill Children: Lessons from Project PENCIL

Rosa M. Steen, Eric C. Twombly, Louise C. Palmer, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication

Parents are instrumental in obtaining and managing educational services for a student with a chronic illness, but may lack the knowledge to do so. Project PENCIL's parent component contains information for parents to address the academic and social needs of their student with a chronic illness and aims to significantly increase parents’ knowledge about the educational services available for their student with a chronic illness. This research brief presents the evaluation findings of Project PENCIL's parent component.

December 1, 2014
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Evaluating an Effort to Improve Parents' Ability to Obtain Educational Services For Their Chronically Ill Children: Lessons from Project PENCIL

Rosa M. Steen, Eric C. Twombly, Louise C. Palmer, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication

Parents are instrumental in obtaining and managing educational services for a student with a chronic illness, but may lack the knowledge to do so. Project PENCIL's parent component contains information for parents to address the academic and social needs of their student with a chronic illness and aims to significantly increase parents’ knowledge about the educational services available for their student with a chronic illness. This research brief presents the evaluation findings of Project PENCIL's parent component.

December 1, 2014
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2013
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Building Knowledge and Positive Attitudes as a Basis for Social Acceptance for Children with Cochlear Implants

Nicole I. Wanty, Eric C. Twombly, Kristen D. Holtz, & Louise C. Palmer, KDH Research & Communication

Children with differences, such a cochlear implants (CIs), are at greater risk for low social acceptance than typical children. Social acceptance is the extent to which a child can successfully initiate and maintain reciprocal relationships with his or her peers. Low social acceptance early in life often relates to lasting poor self-esteem and social isolation. KDH Research & Communication developed a peer education intervention entitled Making Sense of Your Senses, which consists of an 8-minute DVD and structured classroom lesson implemented by the classroom teacher that defines and describes a CI and hearing loss and inclusive ways encourages typical peers to act in socially inclusive ways. This research brief examines the effectiveness of the peer education intervention to build typical peers’ knowledge and positive attitudes to support the social acceptance of children with CIs.

April 1, 2013
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Building Knowledge and Positive Attitudes as a Basis for Social Acceptance for Children with Cochlear Implants

Nicole I. Wanty, Eric C. Twombly, Kristen D. Holtz, & Louise C. Palmer, KDH Research & Communication

Children with differences, such a cochlear implants (CIs), are at greater risk for low social acceptance than typical children. Social acceptance is the extent to which a child can successfully initiate and maintain reciprocal relationships with his or her peers. Low social acceptance early in life often relates to lasting poor self-esteem and social isolation. KDH Research & Communication developed a peer education intervention entitled Making Sense of Your Senses, which consists of an 8-minute DVD and structured classroom lesson implemented by the classroom teacher that defines and describes a CI and hearing loss and inclusive ways encourages typical peers to act in socially inclusive ways. This research brief examines the effectiveness of the peer education intervention to build typical peers’ knowledge and positive attitudes to support the social acceptance of children with CIs.

April 1, 2013
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2011
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The Evaluation of Tier Two's Tag It Activity, Part of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign

Kristen D. Holtz, Eric C. Twombly, Joshua B. Becker, Arienne S. Wyatt

Prescription drug abuse, particularly among teens, has become a major public health problem in the United States. In 2003, roughly 2.3 million teens in the U.S. reported lifetime nonmedical use of a prescription drug (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2004). By 2008, the number of teens who reported lifetime nonmedical use of a prescription drug rose to 4.7 million, or one in every five teens in the U.S. (Partnership Attitude Tracking Study [PATS], 2009).

February 1, 2011
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The Evaluation of Tier Two's Tag It Activity, Part of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign

Kristen D. Holtz, Eric C. Twombly, Joshua B. Becker, Arienne S. Wyatt

Prescription drug abuse, particularly among teens, has become a major public health problem in the United States. In 2003, roughly 2.3 million teens in the U.S. reported lifetime nonmedical use of a prescription drug (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2004). By 2008, the number of teens who reported lifetime nonmedical use of a prescription drug rose to 4.7 million, or one in every five teens in the U.S. (Partnership Attitude Tracking Study [PATS], 2009).

February 1, 2011
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Identifying and Overcoming Challenges to the Effective Implementation of Promotores Programs by Community-Based Nonprofit Organizations

Eric C.Twombly, Kristen D. Holtz, Kimberly Stringer, & Louise C. Palmer, KDH Research & Communication

In today’s fiscally austere climate, community-based nonprofit organizations that are the frontline providers of health services to low-income Latino families are seeking new and innovative approaches to supply services at lower cost. One such approach is to use promotores – or community health workers – to provide client outreach services. But the implementation of promotores programs raises important challenges for nonprofits. Using primary data collected from a national sample of academics and nonprofit executives, this brief describes these implementation challenges and recommends methods for nonprofits to overcome them.

September 1, 2011
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Identifying and Overcoming Challenges to the Effective Implementation of Promotores Programs by Community-Based Nonprofit Organizations

Eric C.Twombly, Kristen D. Holtz, Kimberly Stringer, & Louise C. Palmer, KDH Research & Communication

In today’s fiscally austere climate, community-based nonprofit organizations that are the frontline providers of health services to low-income Latino families are seeking new and innovative approaches to supply services at lower cost. One such approach is to use promotores – or community health workers – to provide client outreach services. But the implementation of promotores programs raises important challenges for nonprofits. Using primary data collected from a national sample of academics and nonprofit executives, this brief describes these implementation challenges and recommends methods for nonprofits to overcome them.

September 1, 2011
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An Intergenerational Approach to Improve the Health Literacy Skills of Families

Louise C. Palmer, Eric C.Twombly, Kristen D. Holtz, & Kimberly Stringer, KDH Research & Communication

The need for effective health programming for Latino families is substantial. Not only do Latinos constitute the fastest growing demographic group in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011), but many Latinos also face significant health challenges. The pilot En Familia (ENF) program aims to improve knowledge about key health topics and health literacy skills of Latino families in the U.S. and to reduce the health disparities that many Latino families face. ENF encourages teens, their parents, and their grandparents to support each other in making healthy lifestyle choices. This research brief provides the preliminary evaluation results of a pilot version of the novel health program, ENF, and outlines the ways in which the program will evolve to full content and wide applicability.

October 1, 2011
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An Intergenerational Approach to Improve the Health Literacy Skills of Families

Louise C. Palmer, Eric C.Twombly, Kristen D. Holtz, & Kimberly Stringer, KDH Research & Communication

The need for effective health programming for Latino families is substantial. Not only do Latinos constitute the fastest growing demographic group in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011), but many Latinos also face significant health challenges. The pilot En Familia (ENF) program aims to improve knowledge about key health topics and health literacy skills of Latino families in the U.S. and to reduce the health disparities that many Latino families face. ENF encourages teens, their parents, and their grandparents to support each other in making healthy lifestyle choices. This research brief provides the preliminary evaluation results of a pilot version of the novel health program, ENF, and outlines the ways in which the program will evolve to full content and wide applicability.

October 1, 2011
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The Evaluation Results of a Public Health Tool to Help Teachers Effectively Accommodate and Teach Children with Cochlear Implants in Mainstream Classrooms

Louise C. Palmer, Jana Eisensten, Eric C.Twombly, Kristen D. Holtz, & Nicole I. Wanty, KDH Research & Communication

Over 28,400 deaf or hard of hearing children in the United States wear cochlear implants, which bypass the damaged or nonfunctioning parts of the ear to create a representation of sound for the wearer (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 2011). Increasingly, children who wear cochlear implants enter mainstream schools, where they attend classes with typically-abled peers. KDH Research & Communication developed The Cochlear Implant School Toolkit to help elementary school students with cochlear implants and their teachers, parents, and peers overcome the challenges that may accompany their entrance into a mainstream school. This research brief reports on the evaluation of the Teachers' Guide and DVD components of the Cochlear Implant School Toolkit.

November 1, 2011
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The Evaluation Results of a Public Health Tool to Help Teachers Effectively Accommodate and Teach Children with Cochlear Implants in Mainstream Classrooms

Louise C. Palmer, Jana Eisensten, Eric C.Twombly, Kristen D. Holtz, & Nicole I. Wanty, KDH Research & Communication

Over 28,400 deaf or hard of hearing children in the United States wear cochlear implants, which bypass the damaged or nonfunctioning parts of the ear to create a representation of sound for the wearer (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 2011). Increasingly, children who wear cochlear implants enter mainstream schools, where they attend classes with typically-abled peers. KDH Research & Communication developed The Cochlear Implant School Toolkit to help elementary school students with cochlear implants and their teachers, parents, and peers overcome the challenges that may accompany their entrance into a mainstream school. This research brief reports on the evaluation of the Teachers' Guide and DVD components of the Cochlear Implant School Toolkit.

November 1, 2011
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2010
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Exploring the Geographical Diffusion of Prescription Drug Misuse by Teens

Eric C. Twombly, Arienne S. Wyatt, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC, & Greta K. Tessman, Emerson College
Working Paper 10-002

This paper examines the geographical diffusion of prescription drug misuse by teens in the United States and compares it with the geographical diffusion of methamphetamine, marijuana, and alcohol. Currently, there is no systematic evidence of how usage patterns of potentially addictive but licit drugs, such as prescription drugs, geographically diffuse, raising questions of how to best prevent their abuse and treat their consequences. We find evidence that the geographical diffusion of drugs of abuse by teens varies by the drugs’ social acceptability, supply, legal status, and use in medical treatments. We also find that the diffusion of prescription drug misuse among teens fails to resemble the patterns of methamphetamine, marijuana, and alcohol, raising the need for a national prevention effort to stem this growing public health problem.

December 1, 2010
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Exploring the Geographical Diffusion of Prescription Drug Misuse by Teens

Eric C. Twombly, Arienne S. Wyatt, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC, & Greta K. Tessman, Emerson College
Working Paper 10-002

This paper examines the geographical diffusion of prescription drug misuse by teens in the United States and compares it with the geographical diffusion of methamphetamine, marijuana, and alcohol. Currently, there is no systematic evidence of how usage patterns of potentially addictive but licit drugs, such as prescription drugs, geographically diffuse, raising questions of how to best prevent their abuse and treat their consequences. We find evidence that the geographical diffusion of drugs of abuse by teens varies by the drugs’ social acceptability, supply, legal status, and use in medical treatments. We also find that the diffusion of prescription drug misuse among teens fails to resemble the patterns of methamphetamine, marijuana, and alcohol, raising the need for a national prevention effort to stem this growing public health problem.

December 1, 2010
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Exploring the Use of the Internet by Caregivers of People with Autism Spectrum Disorders to Obtain Caregiving Information

Eric C. Twombly, Kristen D. Holtz, & Alison Daub, KDHRC
Working Paper 10-001

This paper reports on data from a population of caregivers of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to examine the extent and motivations for their use of the Internet to obtain information on caregiving. We find considerable interest for Web-based information, but a strong bifurcation among respondents on the preferential type of information. The majority of respondents indicate that Web sites that provide factual information about caregiving are most important. Other respondents see the Internet as a vehicle for social exchanges about ASD. Regardless of their preferred method to consume Web-based information, all respondents reported using Web sites to obtain caregiving information

December 1, 2010
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Exploring the Use of the Internet by Caregivers of People with Autism Spectrum Disorders to Obtain Caregiving Information

Eric C. Twombly, Kristen D. Holtz, & Alison Daub, KDHRC
Working Paper 10-001

This paper reports on data from a population of caregivers of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to examine the extent and motivations for their use of the Internet to obtain information on caregiving. We find considerable interest for Web-based information, but a strong bifurcation among respondents on the preferential type of information. The majority of respondents indicate that Web sites that provide factual information about caregiving are most important. Other respondents see the Internet as a vehicle for social exchanges about ASD. Regardless of their preferred method to consume Web-based information, all respondents reported using Web sites to obtain caregiving information

December 1, 2010
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2009
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Resonant Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Messages for Teens

Christine B. Agnew, Eric C.Twombly, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication

Prescription drug abuse, particularly among teens, has become a major public health problem in the United States. In 2003, roughly 2.3 million teens in the U.S. reported lifetime nonmedical use of a prescription drug (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2004). By 2008, the number of teens who reported lifetime nonmedical use of a prescription drug rose to 4.7 million, or one in every five teens in the U.S. (Partnership Attitude Tracking Study [PATS], 2009).

August 1, 2009
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Resonant Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Messages for Teens

Christine B. Agnew, Eric C.Twombly, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication

Prescription drug abuse, particularly among teens, has become a major public health problem in the United States. In 2003, roughly 2.3 million teens in the U.S. reported lifetime nonmedical use of a prescription drug (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2004). By 2008, the number of teens who reported lifetime nonmedical use of a prescription drug rose to 4.7 million, or one in every five teens in the U.S. (Partnership Attitude Tracking Study [PATS], 2009).

August 1, 2009
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Resonant Messages to Prevent Prescription Drug Misuse by Teens

Eric C. Twombly, Christine B. Agnew, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC
Working Paper 09-003

Prescription drug misuse is a major health problem, particularly among teens. A key step in curbing misuse is the development of effective prescription drug prevention messages. This paper explores the elements of prescription drug misuse prevention messages that resonate with teens using data from focus groups with seventh and eighth grade students. In contrast to some previous research, students reported that messages with positive alternatives and refusal skills had little resonance, but scare tactic messages about prescription drug misuse resonated strongly. The data also suggest a substantial difference in message resonance between seventh and eighth grade students. Overall, the findings suggest the need to craft and target different types of messages for prescription drug misuse prevention to targeted teen audiences.

November 1, 2009
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Resonant Messages to Prevent Prescription Drug Misuse by Teens

Eric C. Twombly, Christine B. Agnew, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC
Working Paper 09-003

Prescription drug misuse is a major health problem, particularly among teens. A key step in curbing misuse is the development of effective prescription drug prevention messages. This paper explores the elements of prescription drug misuse prevention messages that resonate with teens using data from focus groups with seventh and eighth grade students. In contrast to some previous research, students reported that messages with positive alternatives and refusal skills had little resonance, but scare tactic messages about prescription drug misuse resonated strongly. The data also suggest a substantial difference in message resonance between seventh and eighth grade students. Overall, the findings suggest the need to craft and target different types of messages for prescription drug misuse prevention to targeted teen audiences.

November 1, 2009
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Using Promotores Programs to Improve Latino Health Outcomes: Implementation Challenges for Community-Based Nonprofit Organizations

Eric C. Twombly, Kimberly A. Stringer, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC
Working Paper 09-002

Latinos in the United States face numerous barriers to accessing health care and suffer from relatively low health outcomes. To address these barriers and improve Latinos’ health, community-based nonprofits attempt to use innovative and creative health care delivery methods, including promotores programs. Promotores are community lay health workers, often working through nonprofit organizations, who provide outreach and services to Latinos. Using primary data from a sample of national experts, this paper explores the challenges faced by nonprofits in the implementation of promotores programs. The findings suggest three key implementation problems: the lack of standardized information on promotores programs, labor issues, and organizational costs. The paper concludes with several strategies to addresses these problems.

November 1, 2009
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Using Promotores Programs to Improve Latino Health Outcomes: Implementation Challenges for Community-Based Nonprofit Organizations

Eric C. Twombly, Kimberly A. Stringer, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC
Working Paper 09-002

Latinos in the United States face numerous barriers to accessing health care and suffer from relatively low health outcomes. To address these barriers and improve Latinos’ health, community-based nonprofits attempt to use innovative and creative health care delivery methods, including promotores programs. Promotores are community lay health workers, often working through nonprofit organizations, who provide outreach and services to Latinos. Using primary data from a sample of national experts, this paper explores the challenges faced by nonprofits in the implementation of promotores programs. The findings suggest three key implementation problems: the lack of standardized information on promotores programs, labor issues, and organizational costs. The paper concludes with several strategies to addresses these problems.

November 1, 2009
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Minimizing Institutional and Instructional Barriers to Increase Students' Health Literacy Through Genetics Education

Stephanie N. MacLaverty, Eric C. Twombly, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC
Working Paper 09-001

One traditional avenue to developing health literacy is through health educational curriculum in primary and secondary schools. However, recent policy shifts that emphasize core curriculum learning standards decreased the ability of schools to offer health content. Thus, supplementing the core genetics curriculum with health content is a possible approach to increase health literacy in the current educational environment. Qualitative data suggest that control is the primary institutional and instructional barrier to the adoption and use of supplemental genetics educational materials. However, teachers report that supplemental educational materials with specific elements can help minimize this barrier and allow teachers flexibility to maximize the health content they can deliver. But to effectively build health literacy, supplemental materials must relate genetics to personal health. When combined with effective teaching practices, such as inquiry-based activities and content that is adaptable to different levels of student ability, supplemental genetics materials may help minimize barriers and make genetics education an effective conduit to build students’ health and genetic literacy.

November 1, 2009
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Minimizing Institutional and Instructional Barriers to Increase Students' Health Literacy Through Genetics Education

Stephanie N. MacLaverty, Eric C. Twombly, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC
Working Paper 09-001

One traditional avenue to developing health literacy is through health educational curriculum in primary and secondary schools. However, recent policy shifts that emphasize core curriculum learning standards decreased the ability of schools to offer health content. Thus, supplementing the core genetics curriculum with health content is a possible approach to increase health literacy in the current educational environment. Qualitative data suggest that control is the primary institutional and instructional barrier to the adoption and use of supplemental genetics educational materials. However, teachers report that supplemental educational materials with specific elements can help minimize this barrier and allow teachers flexibility to maximize the health content they can deliver. But to effectively build health literacy, supplemental materials must relate genetics to personal health. When combined with effective teaching practices, such as inquiry-based activities and content that is adaptable to different levels of student ability, supplemental genetics materials may help minimize barriers and make genetics education an effective conduit to build students’ health and genetic literacy.

November 1, 2009
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2008
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How Attitudes Affect Student Learning About Drugs of Abuse

Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication & Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University

This study, which examines the effectiveness of a middle school science education curriculum on drugs of abuse, suggests that pre-existing student attitudes toward science and drugs play an important role in student performance. The implications of the study are significant in two ways. First, the science-based education curriculum analyzed in this brief — or ones similar in nature — may have value as a drug-prevention tool for students. Second, the study suggests specific methods that may be used to potentiate student outcomes on such curricula. For example, the development of new pedagogical methods to improve science achievement by identifying and intervening with students who report more negative attitudes toward science, prior to the implementation of core content, may have value and should be explored further.

May 1, 2008
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How Attitudes Affect Student Learning About Drugs of Abuse

Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication & Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University

This study, which examines the effectiveness of a middle school science education curriculum on drugs of abuse, suggests that pre-existing student attitudes toward science and drugs play an important role in student performance. The implications of the study are significant in two ways. First, the science-based education curriculum analyzed in this brief — or ones similar in nature — may have value as a drug-prevention tool for students. Second, the study suggests specific methods that may be used to potentiate student outcomes on such curricula. For example, the development of new pedagogical methods to improve science achievement by identifying and intervening with students who report more negative attitudes toward science, prior to the implementation of core content, may have value and should be explored further.

May 1, 2008
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Using Science-Based Education to Prevent Drug an Alcohol Abuse by Elementary School Students

Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University & Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication

The substantial public health problem of illicit drug use among elementary school children requires innovative thinking on methods to combat it. This brief analyzes the development and preliminary evaluation of a school-based science education intervention to reduce illicit drug use among children and youth. Exposure to the curriculum relates to a change in knowledge about alcohol and drugs, but other factors also play a role in knowledge change. Indeed, greater pre-existing positive attitudes toward science predicted greater knowledge change, and students who knew less at the start of the intervention showed a greater change in knowledge.

June 1, 2008
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Using Science-Based Education to Prevent Drug an Alcohol Abuse by Elementary School Students

Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University & Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication

The substantial public health problem of illicit drug use among elementary school children requires innovative thinking on methods to combat it. This brief analyzes the development and preliminary evaluation of a school-based science education intervention to reduce illicit drug use among children and youth. Exposure to the curriculum relates to a change in knowledge about alcohol and drugs, but other factors also play a role in knowledge change. Indeed, greater pre-existing positive attitudes toward science predicted greater knowledge change, and students who knew less at the start of the intervention showed a greater change in knowledge.

June 1, 2008
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Recommendations to Prevent Teen Misuse of Prescription Drugs

Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication & Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University

Prescription drug misuse by teens is a growing public health problem. Although there is basic information on patterns of misuse among teens, there are few systematic analyses of what influences teens’ knowledge about and attitudes towards prescription drugs — key factors for the creation of effective prevention programs — and even less research on methods to curb these increases. To address this information gap, this brief combines multiple bodies of research to construct recommendations to stem the growing problem of prescription drug misuse by teens.

July 1, 2008
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Recommendations to Prevent Teen Misuse of Prescription Drugs

Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication & Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University

Prescription drug misuse by teens is a growing public health problem. Although there is basic information on patterns of misuse among teens, there are few systematic analyses of what influences teens’ knowledge about and attitudes towards prescription drugs — key factors for the creation of effective prevention programs — and even less research on methods to curb these increases. To address this information gap, this brief combines multiple bodies of research to construct recommendations to stem the growing problem of prescription drug misuse by teens.

July 1, 2008
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2007
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The Power of Positive Attitudes: Student Outcomes on a Science Education Curriculum About Drugs of Abuse

Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University, Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC & Greta K. Tessman, Emerson College and Tufts University
Working Paper 07-004

Science literacy is critical for civil society, and attitudes toward science in school have been found to be strong predictors of achievement. Science literacy is of particular concern for the field of substance abuse research. This paper reports the results of an evaluation of a science education curriculum for late elementary school students on drugs of abuse and explores the role that attitudes toward science and attitudes towards drugs played in predicting student outcomes. The main finding is that students with positive attitudes toward science before the implementation of the curriculum tend to show greater acquisition of knowledge. In contrast, students with less protective attitudes toward drugs were found to show greater knowledge acquisition. This study suggests that the development of new pedagogical methods to improve science achievement by identifying and intervening with students who may have more negative attitudes toward science, prior to the implementation of core content, may have value.

August 1, 2007
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The Power of Positive Attitudes: Student Outcomes on a Science Education Curriculum About Drugs of Abuse

Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University, Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC & Greta K. Tessman, Emerson College and Tufts University
Working Paper 07-004

Science literacy is critical for civil society, and attitudes toward science in school have been found to be strong predictors of achievement. Science literacy is of particular concern for the field of substance abuse research. This paper reports the results of an evaluation of a science education curriculum for late elementary school students on drugs of abuse and explores the role that attitudes toward science and attitudes towards drugs played in predicting student outcomes. The main finding is that students with positive attitudes toward science before the implementation of the curriculum tend to show greater acquisition of knowledge. In contrast, students with less protective attitudes toward drugs were found to show greater knowledge acquisition. This study suggests that the development of new pedagogical methods to improve science achievement by identifying and intervening with students who may have more negative attitudes toward science, prior to the implementation of core content, may have value.

August 1, 2007
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Multimedia Science Education on Drugs of Abuse: A Preliminary Evaluation of Effectiveness for Adolescents

Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University, Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC & Greta K. Tessman, Emerson College and Tufts University
Working Paper 07-003

This paper reports on the development and evaluation of a science education-based multimedia prevention curriculum on drugs of abuse. The evaluation used a pretest/post-test quasi-experimental design in which sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students in the treatment group (N=611) were exposed to the curriculum and those in the control group (N=731) were not. Eight charter schools in four states participated.
Descriptive and multivariate approaches were used to analyze data from knowledge and attitude measures. The findings suggest that the multimedia approach significantly improved knowledge about drugs of abuse in the treatment group, providing preliminary support for the approach of using multimedia science education as a health education and prevention tool in schools.

August 1, 2007
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Multimedia Science Education on Drugs of Abuse: A Preliminary Evaluation of Effectiveness for Adolescents

Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University, Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC & Greta K. Tessman, Emerson College and Tufts University
Working Paper 07-003

This paper reports on the development and evaluation of a science education-based multimedia prevention curriculum on drugs of abuse. The evaluation used a pretest/post-test quasi-experimental design in which sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students in the treatment group (N=611) were exposed to the curriculum and those in the control group (N=731) were not. Eight charter schools in four states participated.
Descriptive and multivariate approaches were used to analyze data from knowledge and attitude measures. The findings suggest that the multimedia approach significantly improved knowledge about drugs of abuse in the treatment group, providing preliminary support for the approach of using multimedia science education as a health education and prevention tool in schools.

August 1, 2007
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Evaluation of a Peer-Focused Intervention to Increase Knowledge and Foster Positive Attitudes Toward Children with Tourette Syndrome

Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC & Greta K. Tessman, Emerson College and Tufts University
Working Paper 07-002

This study examines the impact of a video-based intervention to increase children's knowledge and positive attitudes toward a peer with Tourette Syndrome (TS). TS, a neurological disorder characterized by verbal and motor tics, is a confusing and potentially stigmatizing disorder. Although symptoms wax and wane over the life span, TS typically begins in childhood and peaks at puberty. The available literature suggests that people with TS are at risk for social rejection; because TS is primarily a childhood disorder, many of the social adjustment problems experienced by people with the disorder have their roots in negative childhood experiences in the classroom.
An intervention was developed and evaluated using a pretest, posttest control group study. Children exposed to the intervention video showed greater changes in knowledge, positive attitudes, and behavioral intentions than a control group. Such interventions may have potential to improve social outcomes for children with differences.

August 1, 2007
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Evaluation of a Peer-Focused Intervention to Increase Knowledge and Foster Positive Attitudes Toward Children with Tourette Syndrome

Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC & Greta K. Tessman, Emerson College and Tufts University
Working Paper 07-002

This study examines the impact of a video-based intervention to increase children's knowledge and positive attitudes toward a peer with Tourette Syndrome (TS). TS, a neurological disorder characterized by verbal and motor tics, is a confusing and potentially stigmatizing disorder. Although symptoms wax and wane over the life span, TS typically begins in childhood and peaks at puberty. The available literature suggests that people with TS are at risk for social rejection; because TS is primarily a childhood disorder, many of the social adjustment problems experienced by people with the disorder have their roots in negative childhood experiences in the classroom.
An intervention was developed and evaluated using a pretest, posttest control group study. Children exposed to the intervention video showed greater changes in knowledge, positive attitudes, and behavioral intentions than a control group. Such interventions may have potential to improve social outcomes for children with differences.

August 1, 2007
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A Preliminary Evaluation of the Effects of a Science-Education Curriculum on Changes in Knowledge of Drugs in Youth

Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC & Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University
Working Paper 07-001

Drug and alcohol use among youth remains at pervasively high levels, but students are receiving less school-based prevention. Infusing health information into core curricula may be a valuable prevention approach. Therefore, behavior change theory was used to develop a science education curriculum on drugs for fourth- and fifth-grade students, which was then evaluated using a pretest/post-test quasi-experimental design. Exposure to the curriculum was associated with a change in knowledge, and other characteristics like grade level also played a role. More positive attitudes toward science at pretest predicted greater knowledge change, and students who knew less at the start showed a greater change in knowledge. Results of this evaluation may support the efficacy of the curriculum and the utility of combining behavior change theory with educational approaches.

August 1, 2007
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A Preliminary Evaluation of the Effects of a Science-Education Curriculum on Changes in Knowledge of Drugs in Youth

Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC & Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University
Working Paper 07-001

Drug and alcohol use among youth remains at pervasively high levels, but students are receiving less school-based prevention. Infusing health information into core curricula may be a valuable prevention approach. Therefore, behavior change theory was used to develop a science education curriculum on drugs for fourth- and fifth-grade students, which was then evaluated using a pretest/post-test quasi-experimental design. Exposure to the curriculum was associated with a change in knowledge, and other characteristics like grade level also played a role. More positive attitudes toward science at pretest predicted greater knowledge change, and students who knew less at the start showed a greater change in knowledge. Results of this evaluation may support the efficacy of the curriculum and the utility of combining behavior change theory with educational approaches.

August 1, 2007
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Mandates and Recommendations for Public Health Materials to Improve Health Literacy

Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication & Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University

This research provides a systematic examination of the linkage between two bodies of theory – behavior change theories and cognitive development theories from the fields of psychology and education – to inform the creation of public health materials for low literacy populations.

September 1, 2007
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Mandates and Recommendations for Public Health Materials to Improve Health Literacy

Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication & Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University

This research provides a systematic examination of the linkage between two bodies of theory – behavior change theories and cognitive development theories from the fields of psychology and education – to inform the creation of public health materials for low literacy populations.

September 1, 2007
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A Science Education Curriculum to Curb Youth Drug Use: Implications for Practice and Public Policy

Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University & Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication

Science education offers a unique opportunity to infuse persuasive health information into core curricula in a crowded school environment. This brief presents the results of an evaluation of a multimedia science education curriculum on drugs of abuse developed with funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Students exposed to the curriculum showed increases in knowledge, providing tentative support for the effectiveness of this approach.

November 1, 2007
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A Science Education Curriculum to Curb Youth Drug Use: Implications for Practice and Public Policy

Eric C. Twombly, Georgia State University & Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication

Science education offers a unique opportunity to infuse persuasive health information into core curricula in a crowded school environment. This brief presents the results of an evaluation of a multimedia science education curriculum on drugs of abuse developed with funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Students exposed to the curriculum showed increases in knowledge, providing tentative support for the effectiveness of this approach.

November 1, 2007
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2006
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Boosting Students' Knowledge of and Attitudes About Science

Eric C. Twombly, Nicole I. Wanty, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication
Research Brief

Science literacy and academic achievement on science topics empower youth to think critically and understand and apply scientific findings in their daily lives. However, students in the United States perform lower on science achievement tests than many of their international peers. Only 68 percent of fourth grade students perform at or above a basic achievement level. This rate drops to 59 percent by eighth grade and 54 percent by twelfth grade. KDH Research & Communication developed Attitude Boost (AB), a multimedia curriculum, to build elementary and middle school students’ positive attitudes toward science and increase science literacy and achievement. This research brief presents the findings of the AB outcome evaluation among fifth and eighth grade students.

January 1, 2006
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Boosting Students' Knowledge of and Attitudes About Science

Eric C. Twombly, Nicole I. Wanty, & Kristen D. Holtz, KDH Research & Communication
Research Brief

Science literacy and academic achievement on science topics empower youth to think critically and understand and apply scientific findings in their daily lives. However, students in the United States perform lower on science achievement tests than many of their international peers. Only 68 percent of fourth grade students perform at or above a basic achievement level. This rate drops to 59 percent by eighth grade and 54 percent by twelfth grade. KDH Research & Communication developed Attitude Boost (AB), a multimedia curriculum, to build elementary and middle school students’ positive attitudes toward science and increase science literacy and achievement. This research brief presents the findings of the AB outcome evaluation among fifth and eighth grade students.

January 1, 2006
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The Impact of Peer-Education on Classroom Outcomes for Children with Tourette Syndrome

Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC & Sid J. Schneider, Westat
Working Paper 06-002

A peer-education videotape was developed for elementary school classes with a student with Tourette Syndrome, a chronic, frequently stigmatizing tic disorder. Triads consisting of a child with Tourette Syndrome, the child's parent, and the child's teacher were randomly assigned to either an intervention or control group. The triads completed sets of instruments three times, over five weeks. Only the intervention group received the videotape, as part of a classroom presentation between the first and second data collection times. The results indicated that the triads in both groups perceived gradual improvements in the children's social adjustment. The intervention and control groups, however, also differed in several respects. In the intervention group, the parents reported that their children acquired more friends following the classroom presentation. The children, however, reported having fewer friends at school, less athletic competence, and worse physical appearance. The implications of the results for peer-education interventions are discussed.

December 1, 2006
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The Impact of Peer-Education on Classroom Outcomes for Children with Tourette Syndrome

Kristen D. Holtz, KDHRC & Sid J. Schneider, Westat
Working Paper 06-002

A peer-education videotape was developed for elementary school classes with a student with Tourette Syndrome, a chronic, frequently stigmatizing tic disorder. Triads consisting of a child with Tourette Syndrome, the child's parent, and the child's teacher were randomly assigned to either an intervention or control group. The triads completed sets of instruments three times, over five weeks. Only the intervention group received the videotape, as part of a classroom presentation between the first and second data collection times. The results indicated that the triads in both groups perceived gradual improvements in the children's social adjustment. The intervention and control groups, however, also differed in several respects. In the intervention group, the parents reported that their children acquired more friends following the classroom presentation. The children, however, reported having fewer friends at school, less athletic competence, and worse physical appearance. The implications of the results for peer-education interventions are discussed.

December 1, 2006
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