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What Works in Developing Nations to Get Children Into School or Keep Them There?: A Systematic Review of Rigorous Impact Studies

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Due to evidence linking education and development, funding has been invested in interventions relevant to getting youth into school and keeping them there. This article reports on a systematic review of impact studies of these school enrollment interventions. Reports were identified through electronic searches of bibliographic databases and other methods. To be eligible, studies (1) assessed impact on primary or secondary school enrollment outcomes; (2) used a rigorous design; (3) were conducted in a low- or middle-income nation; (4) included at least one quantifiable measure of enrollment or related outcomes; (5) were available before December 2009; and (6) included data on participants post-1990. A coding instrument extracted data on study characteristics from each report. Standardized mean difference effect sizes were computed for the first effect reported. The sample includes 73 evaluations. The average effect size was positive across all outcomes. However, the results varied. Studies that focused on building new schools and other infrastructure interventions reported the largest average effects.

Utilizing Mutual Aid in Reducing Adolescent Substance Use and Developing Group Engagement

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Objective: This study assessed the effectiveness of mutual aid groups for high school students. Methods: A quasi-experimental design was applied to 242 adolescents, where every other adolescent was assigned to the intervention or the control condition. The study evaluated the influence of implementing mutual aid groups in decreasing perceived risk of substance use, favorable attitudes toward substance use, and reducing substance use while increasing group engagement. Participants were assessed at baseline, during Sessions 2 and 7, and treatment exit. General linear mixed-effects models were used to detect significant differences between treatment and control conditions. Results: Findings indicated mutual aid groups significantly reduced favorable attitudes toward drug use and decreased alcohol and marijuana usage compared to the control group. In addition, the adolescents in treatment significantly increased their group engagement. Conclusions: Results support mutual aid group work models for reducing alcohol use and increasing group engagement for high school youth.

Unemployment Benefit Exhaustion: Incentive Effects on Job-Finding Rates

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Purpose: This systematic review studied the impact of exhaustion of unemployment benefits on the exit rate out of unemployment and into employment prior to benefit exhaustion or shortly thereafter. Method: We followed Campbell Collaboration guidelines to prepare this review, and ultimately located 12 studies for final analysis and interpretation. Twelve studies could be included in the data synthesis. Results: We found clear evidence that the prospect of exhaustion of benefits results in a significantly increased incentive for finding work. Discussion: The theoretical suggestion that the prospect of exhaustion of benefits results in an increased incentive for finding work has been confirmed empirically by measures from seven different European countries, the United States, and Canada. The results are robust in the sense that sensitivity analyses evidenced no appreciable changes in the results. We found no strong indication of the presence of publication bias.

Transition Services for Youth With Autism: A Systematic Review

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As the number of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) rises, attention is increasingly focused on employment outcomes for individuals with ASD who are exiting public school settings. This review aimed to identify what works in transition programs to help students with ASD obtain competitive employment after graduation.


Authors combed through the literature to find all research that could definitively identify interventions that predictably led to employment for transitioning youth. Results: While no definitive conclusions can be drawn based upon the current review, the authors identified qualitative research that addressed elements of potential successful employment placements for individuals with ASD.


Future research efforts are needed to develop studies that utilize rigorous experimental designs to determine the relative effectiveness of the various interventions being utilized in transition programming for students with ASD. This review is published in its entirety in the Campbell Collaboration Library of Systematic Reviews.

The Efficacy of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy With Chinese Families: Randomized Controlled Trial

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Objective: This study aimed to examine the efficacy of the Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) in Hong Kong Chinese families, using randomized controlled trial design. Methods: The participants included 111 Hong Kong Chinese parents with children aged 2–7 years old, who were randomized into the intervention group (n = 54) and control group (n = 57). The participants were requested to complete a set of questionnaires on child behavior problems and parenting before and after intervention. They were also assessed by PCIT therapists using Dyadic Parent–Child Interaction Coding System: Abbreviated Version (3rd edition) before and after intervention. Results: The results indicated significant decrease in child behavior problems, parenting stress, negative emotions, negative parenting practices, and increase in positive parenting practices in the intervention group, compared with the control group. Conclusion: The results provided encouraging evidence that the PCIT was effective with Hong Kong Chinese families.