Reducing Behavioral Health Disparities for Black Youth Phase II

Period of Performance: 04/01/2008 - 03/31/2009


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

3-C Institute for Social Development
DURHAM, NC 27713
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Antisocial behavior and violence are a national crisis disproportionately affecting Black youth (Cicchetti & Lynch, 1993; Prothrow-Stith & Spivak,1992). A vast health disparity exists in which Black youth are significantly more likely to both be identified as exhibiting antisocial behavior and to be the victim of others' antisocial acts. For example, victimization rates for violent crimes are greater than 750% higher for Black adolescents compared to White adolescents (Centers for Disease Control, 2004; Rachuba, Stanton, & Howard, 1995). The lack of culturally sensitive, evidence-based interventions for Black youth exacerbates the problem and hinders access to mental health services among Blacks (Mandersheid & Sonnenschen, 1996). The goal of this Phase II project is to continue the research and development (R&D) of a child small group social-behavioral intervention curriculum, Celebrating the Strengths of Black Youth (CSBY), specifically designed to be culturally relevant and effective for Black youth. This Phase II project will build on Phase I findings to offer an innovative, much needed resource for preventing and decreasing existing behavioral health disparities in Black children (ages six to eight years old). CSBY will offer multi-media resources, including videos and interactive computer resources, and a skill-based curriculum specifically aimed at enhancing social and behavioral competencies. CSBY not only offers mental health (MH) professionals a significant advancement over what is currently available for use with Black youth, but it also provides a unique means of bridging intervention settings with home efforts to promote cross-environment generalization in social and behavioral functioning. During Phase II, the complete CSBY product will be developed, revised, and extended through a series of Alpha and Beta tests. During the course of product development, the 3-C development team will draw on the Advisory Council forthis project, as well as relevant3-C Scientific Advisory Board members to review product materials, provide feedback, and aid development through resources and contacts, as needed. The planned iterative development and feedback by diverse stakeholders will produce a product that will be widely applicable, usable, and acceptable, thereby increasing its commercial potential. Once completed, the CSBY Beta prototype will be scientifically evaluated. In addition to program engagement and product evaluation measures, the efficacy of CSBY for enhancing children's social and behavioral functioning will be empirically tested through randomized trials within both school- and community-based settings. It is expected that Black youth participating in CSBY will be more engaged in treatment and show greater improvement on social- behavioral indices compared to Black youth participating in an established generally-applicable social skills program (i.e., S.S.GRIN; DeRosier, 2006). PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Antisocial behavior and violence among youth has become a national health crisis for which Black youth are disproportionately at risk (Cicchetti & Lynch, 1993; Prothrow-Stith & Spivak,1992). However, existing research on the effectiveness of specific strategies to reduce and prevent youth violence remains challenged by increasing diversity and the need to provide services that are both developmentally and culturally appropriate. The proposed product is consistent with what has been identified by several legislative mandates as necessary in addressing the challenges of providing health care to differing ethnicities and fostering the development of cultural competence in service providers. The proposed product is also consistent with priorities identified by NICHD to help reduce or eliminate health disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations (NICHD, 2000) as well as recommendations by the Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health (U.S. DHHS, 2001) for "tailoring services to meet the needs of all Americans, including racial and ethnic minorities".