Northwest Media (NWM) develops and evaluates many of its products through Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the National Institutes of Health. Since 2001, articles on several of these research projects have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Citations for the articles appear below, along with abstracts and instructions for ordering reprints.
In addition to these articles, a chapter devoted in part to NWM's Web-based marriage education program for resource parents appears in a 2010 book on couple therapy. That citation and chapter abstract follow the list of journal articles.
Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Care
Product: Child Abuse & Neglect
Delaney, R., Nelson, C., Pacifici, C., White, L., & Keefer Smalley, B. (2012). Web-enhanced preservice training for prospective resource parents: A randomized trial of effectiveness and user satisfaction. Journal of Social Service Research, 38, 503-514.
Traditionally, prospective resource parents must attend all preservice training in person. Although live sessions are necessary for screening applicants, instructional portions of training could be enhanced by Web-based sessions. This pilot study compares the effectiveness of online and classroom versions of one session from a widely used preservice training program. Ninety-two individuals enrolled in the program in two states were randomly assigned to a treatment group that viewed an online version of the class on child abuse and neglect or to a comparison group that took the same class in person. Written questionnaires were completed before and after the class. Significant group differences on knowledge of child maltreatment and empathy toward birth parents plus high user satisfaction were hypothesized. Analysis of covariance results showed the online training was more effective than the live training at increasing knowledge. Multivariate analysis of covariance findings on empathy were not significant but trended toward greater empathy for the online group. Feedback indicated high satisfaction with the online course. The finding that online instruction is more effective than live instruction has positive implications for practice, because Web-based training offers advantages like standardizing instruction, cutting agency and trainee costs, and providing greater flexibility.
Pacifici, C., Delaney, R., White, L., Nelson, C., & Cummings, K. (2006). Web-based training for foster, adoptive, and kinship parents. Children and Youth Services Review, 28, 1329-1343.
Foster, adoptive, and kinship parents urgently need high quality in-service training to help them better understand and deal with serious behavior problems of children in their care. Parents are increasingly turning to the Internet for information, advice, support, and now, for formal training. Breakthroughs in technology have made the Web more accessible and more sophisticated, visually. For example, it is now feasible to use video or animation to model social skills, a mainstay of today's parent training interventions. The current study examined the effectiveness of two online courses - on lying and sexualized behavior - with a sample of foster parents from the Foster and Kinship Care Education Program of California Community Colleges. The intervention used interactive multimedia formats to present behavior problems, provide insights into their etiology, and offer parents practical steps to resolve them. Findings showed significant gains in parent knowledge for both courses, and in competency-based parent perceptions for the course on lying, with findings for the other course in the expected direction. Overall, user satisfaction and implementation fidelity were very high. Implications and future directions for this type of intervention are discussed.
Pacifici, C., Delaney, R., White, L., Cummings, K., & Nelson, C. (2005). Foster Parent College: Interactive multimedia training for foster parents. Social Work Research, 29, 243-251.
The authors evaluated a home-based parent training program for foster parents delivered on DVD. The program, part of a series of interactive multimedia courses produced for both DVD and the Web, addressed serious anger problems in children. The approach is in response to the growing unmet needs among foster families and their agencies for in-service training that is relevant and accessible. In the study, a national sample of foster parents showed significant increases in knowledge about the clinical aspects of children's anger, as well as confidence in being able to effectively parent foster children with serious anger problems. Parent satisfaction with the program was also generally very high. The findings are discussed in relation to the potential for DVD and online training in foster care.
Klontz, B., Pacifici, C., Delaney, R., White, L., & Nelson, C. (2011). The effectiveness of an interactive multimedia psychoeducational approach to improve financial competence in at-risk youth: A pilot study. The Journal of Financial Therapy, 2, 41-67.
In recent years, a growing number of initiatives have been aimed at increasing financial literacy among youth in America. However, these efforts have tended to target mainstream populations and failed to adequately address the backgrounds, learning, and psychological needs of at-risk youth. This study piloted a curriculum on money management that presented a basic set of financial skills via story situations and characters that are meaningful to at-risk youth, using a dynamic interactive multimedia online delivery to heighten youth’s interest to learn. The approach also helped at-risk youth gain insight into their money beliefs and psychological barriers to success, integrating change theory and techniques designed to enhance their motivation to change. Eighty-eight Job Corps participants were randomly assigned to treatment and control conditions. Results showed that the interactive multimedia curriculum produced significant gains in youth’s financial knowledge and confidence in money management skills.
Pacifici, C., White, L., Cummings, K., & Nelson, C. (2005). Vstreet.com: A web-based community for at-risk teens. Child Welfare, 84, 25-46.
Most teens leaving the care of an agency are woefully unprepared and unsupported. Current approaches to aftercare are expensive and difficult to implement. This study evaluated a prototype version of Vstreet.com, an innovative Website for at-risk youth designed to teach life skills and build community. Findings from a sample of youth in the Job Corps showed that the Website was highly effective in increasing their knowledge of apartment hunting skills, feelings of peer social support, and intentions of staying in touch with their agency.
Products: Virtual Date, Dating and Sexual Responsibility
Pacifici, C., Stoolmiller, M., & Nelson, C. (2001). Evaluating a prevention program for teenagers on sexual coercion: A differential effectiveness approach. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69, 552-559.
The authors evaluated a coeducational program for teenagers on preventing sexual coercion in dating situations. Students examined individual and social attitudes underlying coercive sexual behavior and learned communication skills aimed at preventing or dealing with unwanted sexual advances. Instruction was enhanced by video and an interactive video "virtual date." Outcomes were assessed using sexual attitude scales with a sample of 458 high school students. Student health education classes were randomly assigned to either a treatment or a control condition. Findings, based on a latent variable model of differential effectiveness, showed that students in the treatment group with initial coercive attitude scores at or above the mean benefited significantly more than students with the same range of scores in the control group.
Teten, A. L., Nagayama Hall, G. C., & Pacifici, C. (2005). Validation of Acceptance of Coercive Sexual Behavior (ACSB): A multimedia measure of adolescent dating attitudes. Assessment, 12, 162-173.
The psychometric properties of the Acceptance of Coercive Sexual Behavior (ACSB), a multimedia measure of adolescent dating attitudes, were examined. The ACSB is an interactive instrument that uses video vignettes to depict adolescent dating situations. Analyses of the measure's factor structure, internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and validity were conducted with separate samples of male (n = 106) and female (n = 114) high school students. Validity was evaluated in relation to subscales on the Sexual Attitudes Survey and self-reports of dating and sexual experiences. Factor analyses on the ACSB yielded two factors, Coercion and Consent. The ACSB demonstrated acceptable psychometric properties. Advantages of using a multimedia assessment of sexually coercive attitudes with adolescents are discussed.
Wienrott, M. R., Riggan, M., & Frothingham, S. (1997). Reducing deviant arousal in juvenile sex offenders using vicarious sensitization. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 12, 704-728.
Sixty-nine teenage child molesters received a 3-month regimen of vicarious sensitization (VS) within the context of a randomized wait-list control-group design. An adjunct to specialized cognitive therapy, VS is a form of conditioning, the aim of which is to decrease sexual arousal to prepubescent children. Perpetrators were alternately exposed to an audiotaped crime scenario designed to evoke deviant arousal followed immediately by an aversive video vignette. Aversive stimuli portray adolescent sex offenders contending with negative social, emotional, physical, and legal consequences of their crimes. Subjects received approximately 300 VS trials over 25 sessions. Results based on both phallometric and self-report measures showed significant decreas¬es in deviant arousal for youths who received VS. Wait-listed youths did not improve, despite continuing in weekly cognitive therapy. When VS was later administered to wait-listed youths, they, too, showed a significant treatment effect. Three-month-followup data indicated that gains were maintained.
Markman, H. J., Rhoades, G. K., Delaney, R., White, L., & Pacifici, C. (2010). Extending the reach of research-based couples interventions. In K. Hahlweg, M. Grawe-Gerber, & D. H. Baucom (Eds.), Enhancing couples: The shape of couple therapy to come (pp. 128-141). Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe.
In this chapter we explore ways of extending the reach of research-based approaches to couples intervention to partners, service providers, and
policy makers. We focus specifically on prevention and relationship education efforts over the past 30 years and summarize lessons learned from these
efforts that can influence practice and social policy. We show how today these services are becoming the main way that empirically based couples
interventions are reaching couples in general and underserved, high risk partners and individuals in particular. We conclude with a discussion of two new
studies that illustrate some of the lessons learned and that highlight some of the key issues that our field faces as we move forward.