Intervening in the Lives of Youth with Foster Care Involvement

Based on Research Conducted at OSLC

There are alarming disparities in the prevalence of mental health disorders and suicide between youth with a history of foster care involvement (FCI) and their peers. The few preventive interventions specifically designed for youth with FCI have generally examined effects on less specific, immediate “problem” behaviors rather than specific mental health disorders. By leveraging data from seven randomized control trials, the current project could positively impact the lives of these youth by enabling us to understand if and for how long preventative interventions implemented early in life may have positive impacts on the mental health of youth with FCI, as well as the mechanisms through which the interventions may operate, and for which subpopulations the interventions might be most efficacious.

Project Overview

Youth with a history of foster care involvement (FCI) have a 200–400% greater chance of reporting a lifetime or past year mental health problem (Havlicek, Garcia, & Smith, 2013), and are 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide (Katz et al., 2011), than their peers. There are few preventive interventions specifically designed for these youth, and those that exist have generally examined effects on less specific, immediate “problem” behaviors rather than long-term specific mental health disorders.

 

The current project uses integrative data analysis (IDA) to harmonize data across seven dual-focused caregiver–youth randomized control trials of interventions designed specifically for youth with FCI that shared underlying theories of change (yielding an ethnically diverse combined sample of 1,925 youth at baseline and over 6,500 person-by-time assessments that cover multiple periods of youth development from ages 5–15 years at baseline). This study addresses key questions about both crossover and long-term intervention effects on multiple mental health outcomes in youth with FCI that no one study has examined in the past or could answer alone. Efficacy of the interventions on symptoms of five classes of mental health outcomes (depression and anxiety, suicidality, thought problems and psychosis, posttraumatic stress disorder, and aggression and violence) are being examined.

 

Using IDA to leverage multiple datasets, the current project could positively impact the lives of youth with FCI by enabling us to understand if and for how long preventative interventions implemented early in life may have positive impacts on the mental health of youth with FCI (Aim 1), as well as the mechanisms through which (i.e., improved parenting skills and decreased youth emotional and behavioral dysregulation; Aim 2) and for which subpopulations the interventions might be most efficacious (Aim 3).

 

Year Project Began: 2020
Funder: National Institute of Mental Health

Principal Investigator

Stacey S. Tiberio, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
Oregon Social Learning Center

Active Research Projects

Primary Research and Clinical Interests

Dr. Tiberio is a methodologist and quantitative psychologist with primary research interests in longitudinal data analysis — or the modeling of how processes change over time. In particular, she is interested in time-dynamic transactional models, which apply concepts of self- and co-regulation to understand the uni- and bi-directional relationships within and between processes.

Dr. Tiberio’s substantive research interests predominately focus on gaining a better understanding of how individuals’ physical and mental health may be influenced by their own behaviors, the behaviors of those around them and their social contexts. Dr. Tiberio is particularly interested in violence prevention, and identifying risk and protective factors of violent and antisocial behaviors.