The KITS Follow-Up study was a longitudinal study of the effects of an intervention that targeted specific school-related skills during the summer and early fall preceding school entry via three mechanisms: (1) a therapeutic playgroup; (2) caregiver psychoeducational support groups; and (3) behavioral consultation in the home, school, and community settings. KITS was designed to increase children’s attention and effortful control in classroom settings, to promote preliteracy skills, and to provide caregivers with skills for facilitating children’s successful transition to kindergarten. In the first 5 years of the study 192 children and their families participated. In the follow-up, children and their families were followed through the end of fifth grade (and beyond for some children) to examine the long-term effects of the KITS Program on academic, social, and behavioral adjustment as well as on behaviors that may place children at risk for health risking behaviors.Year Project Began: 2010
Year Project Completed: 2015
Funder: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Katherine C. Pears, Ph.D.
Oregon Social Learning Center
Active Research Projects
Primary Research and Clinical Interests
Dr. Pears studies a number of early childhood predictors of behavioral and social problems with the goal of developing preventive interventions. Specifically, she is interested in the effects of early adverse circumstances (including maltreatment and poverty) on children’s social and academic development. She has studied the school readiness skills and early school adjustment of high-risk children with a particular focus on self-regulatory skills. Additionally, Dr. Pears has examined longer term indicators of school adjustment in children at risk for poor school outcomes, including how school adjustment is transmitted from one generation to the next. She has translated this research into an intervention to improve the school readiness skills of children at high risk for poor academic and social adjustment: the Kids in Transition to School (KITS) Program (www.kidsintransitiontoschool.org). She is the principal investigator on three randomized efficacy trials of the KITS Program including maltreated children in foster care, children with developmental disabilities and co-occurring behavioral or social problems, and children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.