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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

John D Hawkins
SOC WL 579
Seattle Campus

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Prevention Science: Children and Adolescents

Overview of theory, research, and practice in prevention science. Developmental perspective examining factors that promote or inhibit health development at different stages and during transitions (focus on birth through age 21). Designed for interdisciplinary dialogue, and includes guest faculty from around the University who are specialists in course topics. Credit/no-credit only.

Class description

This course presents an overview of theory, research, and practice in prevention science. A developmental perspective is used to focus on factors that promote or inhibit healthy development at different stages and during transitions. The primary focus is on the periods from birth through age 21. Topics include the promotion of healthy development in childhood and adolescence and the prevention of child abuse and neglect; developmental delays; early pregnancy; violence and delinquent behavior; school misbehavior; dropout; and mental health disorders, including conduct disorders and substance abuse. The Institute of Medicines Mental Health Intervention Spectrum is used as a framework to distinguish universal, selective, and indicated prevention from treatment. The course demonstrates how prevention science is built on the foundations of epidemiological research and etiological research on predictors of health, mental health, and behavior problems including research from neuroscience, genetics, developmental psychopathology, social welfare, sociology, and economics. The course follows the preventive intervention research cycle to explore the role of clinical and field trials in identifying efficacious and effective preventive interventions. Approaches, results, and issues in large scale, community preventive interventions are also explored. Finally, opportunities and prospects for dissemination of effective preventive interventions and research on dissemination are investigated. This course seeks to increase opportunity for interdisciplinary dialogue. Students interested in designing a course of study in preventive research will develop application knowledge relevant to their interventive and substantive areas. The seminar includes guest faculty from around the University who are specialists in course topics.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Assigned readings are relevant to each session of the seminar. Please complete readings before each class session. Seminar leadership will be shared. Each student will identify a health, mental health, or behavior outcome of concern and develop and share expertise with regard to existing research evidence on prevalence, predictors, and preventive interventions relevant to that outcome, specifically: 1. the outcome, its incidence and prevalence in the general population and in ethnic, gender, and other subpopulations; 2. co-morbidity or co-variation of the outcome with other health, mental health, and behavior outcomes; 3. current research evidence concerning biopsychosocial predictors of the outcome; 4. current research evidence regarding efficacious and effective interventions to reduce risk, enhance protection, and change the incidence and prevalence of the outcome; 5. current substantive and methodological issues that need to be addressed in prevention research studies focused on the outcome, with a focus on issues the student may choose to address in subsequent research. Students are encouraged to make scheduled presentations to the class on these topics as related to their chosen outcome.

Class assignments and grading

1. Able to describe stages in the preventive intervention research cycle. 2. Able to describe the importance, from a public health perspective, of understanding the incidence and prevalence of the outcome of concern in designing preventive interventions. 3. Able to present the current evidence regarding incidence and prevalence of a health, mental health, or behavior outcome chosen by the student. 4. Able to present the current evidence regarding the co-morbidity/co-occurrence of the outcome chosen by the student and other health, mental health, and behavior problems. 5. Able to describe the empirically identified predictors of the health, mental health, or behavior outcome of concern to the student. 6. Able to present the current evidence regarding biological and psychosocial risk and protective factors, their points or periods of developmental salience, and their interactions in the etiology of a health, mental health or behavior problem chosen by the student. 7. Able to describe the degree to which developmentally appropriate efficacious and/or effective interventions have been identified that affect the health, mental health, or behavior outcome chosen by the student. 8. Able to describe a set of developmentally appropriate, tested, and efficacious or effective interventions that have been found to affect the health, mental health, or behavior outcome chosen by the student. 9. Able to identify likely consequences of these interventions beyond the students focal outcome. 10. Able to describe the importance of understanding the prevalence of risk and protective factors in designing community preventive interventions. 11. Able to describe current progress and obstacles in multi-component community-based preventive intervention. 12. Able to describe emerging opportunities and challenges in dissemination research. 13. Able to formulate emerging research questions regarding epidemiology, etiology, preventive interventions, or dissemination of preventive interventions as appropriate to the students chosen outcome.

The three-credit course will be graded credit/no credit. Expectations for credit are: completion of assigned reading before class sessions, and active participation in the seminar sessions, and a scheduled 15 minute individual conversation with the instructor during finals week for which the student should come prepared to show competence with respect to 3 of the course objectives.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by John D Hawkins
Date: 10/07/2003