Representative Research Studies


Representative Research Studies

National Treatment Completion Study

The purpose of this study is to identify and describe the specific family, child, event and problem factors that predict treatment completion and noncompletion via a  sequential logistic regression analysis of identified variables in the core data set.  We predict that child, family, and trauma variables identified at intake would predict premature treatment termination in traumatized children receiving trauma-informed evidence-based practices.  Second, we predict that treatment factors would contribute incrementally to dropping out of treatment, controlling for the contribution of child, family and trauma characteristics.  Major analyses will include significance tests, parameter estimates, effect size, and evaluation of improvement in model at each step. Additional analyses will include odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals, classification and/or prediction success of the criterion variable, interpretation in terms of means and/or percentages, and evaluation of models without individual covariates. This analysis should increase our understanding of the variables that affect successful completion of trauma treatment both positively and negatively.  Funding: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Sprang (PI), Clark, Craig, Staton-Tindall, Vrgon, Cohen and Gurwitch (Co-Is)

Child Trauma Treatment Study

The objectives of this study are to determine the longitudinal effectiveness of Trauma Focused- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy and Child Parent Psychotherapy in reducing traumatic stress symptoms, increasing child psychosocial functioning, improving parenting outcomes, as well as assessing the viability and utility of the dissemination process. This study involves participation in a national cross-site evaluation study in conjunction with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.  Funding: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Sprang (PI), Clark, Craig, Staton-Tindall, & Walker (Co-Is).

Best Practices Guidelines for Pandemic Disaster Response:  A Social Behavioral Evaluation

The objectives of this study are to develop best practice disaster response and planning guidelines for families and children that will optimize the psychosocial response to a pandemic and prevent adverse unintentional consequences such as panic, non-compliance and poor behavioral health outcomes.  To that end, this study examines current practices and lessons learned in six states in the US determined to have the highest incident of confirmed cases of H1N1, pediatric deaths, and overall death attributable to the 2009 pandemic.  Additionally, Toronto, Canada is included as a study site due to the 2003 SARS pandemic in that city, and Mexico City is targeted because of high rates of morbidity and mortality in that area during the initial onset of H1N1.  Funding: Department of Homeland Security/ National Institute of Hometown Security.  Sprang (PI), Clark (Co-PI).

Child Abuse Potential and Parenting Stress During Rural Offender Re-entry

This project examines the feasibility of implementing telemedicine videoconferencing in rural parole offices to provide services to offenders with a history of hazardous drinking who are transitioning from prison to the community.  The study includes a focus on the clinical issues associated with reunification of children following prison, as well as measures to assess child abuse potential and parenting stress. Funding: National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse.  Staton-Tindall (PI).

Rural Child Well- Being Study

Objectives of this study are as follows: (1) To analyze pre-existing educational, developmental and behavioral functioning data collected in rural communities in children ages 4-12 to determine trends and characteristics of children entering and commencing participation in school.  (2) To invite consenting parents of children in this study population to provide interview and psychometric data that can help the researchers understand individual adult characteristics, the psychosocial functioning of their families, as well as the characteristics of their parent-child relationships.  (3) To test the relationships among independent variables collected from the parent sample (collected by CSVAC researchers) and dependent variables from the child sample (pre-existing and having been collected by school professionals).  (4) To determine if analysis of data as described in objectives (1), (2) and (3) reveal any overall characteristics, trends, and/or processes that might be generalized to children and families, which have clinical, program and/or policy management implications.  Funding: Drug Endangered Child Training Network. Sprang (PI), Clark, Staton-Tindall (Co-Is).

The Influence of Caregiver Substance Abuse and Mental Health on Child Outcomes

This project extends previous pilot work by Drs Sprang and Clark to examine the association between caregiver substance abuse and parenting behaviors on child outcomes in Appalachia through a University of Kentucky partnership with the Clay County School District.  Specifically, the project will describe substance use among parents of Clay County School children aged 3 - 12 using face-to-face interviews; (2) To describe Clay County student (ages 3-12) outcomes using secondary data from assessments collected by school personnel; and (3) To examine the unique contribution of caregiver substance use in predicting child outcomes, even when other caregiver attributes and parenting behaviors are considered.  Funding: University of Kentucky Faculty Research Support program. Staton-Tindall (PI), Sprang and Clark (Co-Is).

Trauma Triage Tool Development

The objective of this study is to examine the trauma experiences and developmentally specific trauma response of children using a newly developed Trauma Triage Tool, and to establish the validity of this tool with trauma exposed children.  This study is innovative because it focuses on testing a screening tool for assessing the developmentally specific risk and protective factors, and symptoms of traumatic stress in a wide range of children exposed to trauma – an approach virtually overlooked in the research and clinical literature on screening tools for trauma symptoms.  Original funding: US. Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant to the Secretary for Preparedness and Response. Sprang (PI).

Compassion Fatigue  and Secondary Traumatic Stress  Behavioral Health and Child Welfare Professionals

The aims of this study are to 1) describe levels of secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, burnout and compassion satisfaction across various helping professions (community mental health, public child protection, first responders),  2) examine the relationship between secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction and burnout, and worker and agency characteristics,  3) using the results of the study and findings from the most recent empirical literature, provide implications for decreasing compassion fatigue and burnout, and increasing levels of satisfaction in child protection workers.  Funding: Health Resource Service Administration, NIHS.  Sprang (PI).

Parent-Child Relationship Assessment Study

Assessments of parent-child relationships are key in making decisions regarding custody;  therefore, it is important to ensure that the evaluations of these relationships are accurate and free from bias.  The Crowell Procedure is one method used to assess the relationship of a caregiver-child dyad, and it gives insight into the pair’s attachment.  This procedure has both structured and unstructured components, and it has a formal coding system with scales for both the parent and the child.  This study examines predictors of coding trends based on a number of coder characteristics such as prior knowledge of the case, discipline, gender and race.  Funding: Internal award. Sprang (PI).  Lane, Kollmeyer, Huntley, Hayden (Investigators).

Allostatic Load in Child Welfare Involved Children

This study explores the concept of allostatic load and its utility as an integrative framework for thinking about the impact of chronic stress on children and adolescents involved in the child welfare system.  It is hypothesized that allostatic load represents a persistent physiologic dysregulation, which may lead to secondary health problems such as immunosuppression, obesity, atherosclerosis and hypertension, as well as a host of mental health conditions.  This study identifies ways in which the concept of allostatic load can be used to broaden approaches to assessment, case formulation and treatment in children that are child-welfare involved. Sprang (PI). Katz, Cooke (Investigators and Co-authors).  

Evaluation Projects:

SAMHSA/Center on Substance Abuse Treatment, Evaluation Contract for Chrysalis House, Inc. entitled, “Services Grant Program for Residential Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women”. Description:  This project evaluates enhanced services to substance using pregnant and up to one year post-partum women and their children and families. The project includes cross-site measures which include trauma exposure and other consequences of maternal substance use/abuse on their children, and evaluates the effectiveness of providing enhanced services to address these issues at Chrysalis House