News & Events

News & Events

REACH Staff celebrates Administrative Professionals' Day

Sheryl Sandberg: How to Build Resilient Kids, Even After a Loss

April 24, 2017

After my husband’s death, I set out to learn everything I could about how kids persevere through adversity.

Read the full story at the New York Times

 

The Family Check-Up: A Brief Home Visiting Model with a Big Impact

Read the full story

Getting a grasp on violence

September 19, 2016

On a Monday evening after a long day of work in June 2015, twelve individuals gathered in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. It was supposed to be a typical Bible study meeting, but it turned out to be anything but typical.

As the meeting began, an unfamiliar man arrived and was quickly welcomed into the group. After an hour, the new young man stood up, pulled out a gun and murdered nine of the participants.

Massacres like this one have become far too common in the U.S. Since 2013, every American city with a population of 400,000 or more except Austin, Texas, has experienced at least one mass shooting, defined as a shooting with four or more people killed or injured.

Reading about these incidents in the news, it’s easy to assume that violence is inevitable. However, after 33 years of studying antisocial behavior, Arizona State University researcher Thomas Dishion has come to believe that violence can be prevented.

“Violence and terror come from a process that is predictable and can be reduced,” he says.

Read the full story.

 

Low-cost family counseling at ASU Clinical Psychology Center 

January 19, 2016

The Family Check-Up is currently being offered at a reduced cost to families with children between the ages 2 and 18 at the Arizona State University Clinical Psychology Center. The Family Check-Up is a strengths-based family intervention that empowers parents to make positive changes to promote the well-being of their children and family.

Several studies and more than 30 years of evidence show that the Family Check-Up is effective in as few as three to six sessions. Children of parents who participate in the program experience reduced problem behaviors, improved emotion regulation, reductions in substance use, and decreased risk for obesity. Positive outcomes of the program for children also include heightened self-esteem and positive coping, as well as improved academic performance. 

More information on the Family Check-Up is available here.

Family Check-Up sessions will take place at the ASU Clinical Psychology Center, located just east of Rural Road at 1100 E. University Drive, in Tempe, on days and times that are convenient for families. The center is a training site for doctoral students in clinical psychology. The mission of the center is to provide excellent training while providing outstanding service to the community.

For more information or to schedule a Family Check-Up, call the center at 480-965-7296.

 

Program geared toward youth suffering from anxiety 

December 15, 2015

Armando Pina, professor of psychology at Arizona State University and a researcher with the ASU REACH Institute, was a guest on Julie Rose's radio program "Top of Mind with Julie Rose" to discuss the benefits of an anxiety intervention program he has pioneered, called REACH for Success, that teaches children coping skills and strategies. 

Pina says it is critical to catch anxiety issues early in life, as it affects schoolwork and social skills, and could eventually lead to negative outcomes. If parents wait to act, children with anxiety could develop substance abuse problems and depression.

Pina's program is brief, focused, and highly adaptable to fit the real-world schedules and needs of families and schools.

Listen to the interview

 

Treating anxiety early can yield great results 

November 13, 2015

Most people have had times in their life when they've been too nervous to raise their hand in class or ask a crush out on a date.

But not everybody knows what it's like when those tendencies interfere with daily life, making simple things like going outside or speaking to strangers nearly impossible.

That's what can happen to someone whose anxiety disorder goes untreated, according to Armando Pina, a researcher with the ASU REACH Institute and associate professor of psychology.

"Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences. But sometimes anxiety gets a little bit out of control. And sometimes it gets very out of control. And once it begins to get out of control or impair kids, then it begins to affect other areas of their lives," he said.

Pina has been researching and implementing anxiety prevention strategies for children in grades three through five for the past 5 years with a program called REACH for Success. The program is part of a suite of evidence-based programs developed within the REACH Institute.

Read the full story

 

REACH to collaborate on $6.2M grant 

October 13, 2015

In an effort to promote school safety and reduce violence among middle school students in the Front Range area of Colorado, the ASU REACH Institute is collaborating on a $6.2 million grant awarded to the University of Colorado-Boulder.

The four-year grant from the National Institute of Justice will be led by researchers from CU-Boulder's Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, and will allow researchers to evaluate the feasibility and impact of the Safe Communities Safe Schools model – a Colorado initiative that launched in 1999 after the Columbine High School shootings. 

ASU psychology professor Thomas Dishion, who is the director of the ASU REACH Institute, will serve as part of a multidisciplinary research team focused on school safety at the micro and macro levels through an evidence-based holistic approach to building understanding and strategies in the community.

Specifically, Dishion will collaborate on the development of an evidence-based, multi-tiered system of support, including a school-wide approach to social and emotional learning and adequate staff capacity to identify and address student needs at all levels.

Read the full story

 

Free therapy program for divorced parents 

September 23, 2015


A free, parenting-focused program for divorced and separating parents is being offered this fall at Arizona State University, as part of a course for advanced graduate students who will be trained to deliver the program.

The New Beginnings Program for divorced and separating parents has been rigorously evaluated with funding from the National Institutes of Health and has been shown to have short- and long-term effects lasting up to 15 years.

Children of parents who participated in the program experienced reduced problem behaviors, such as aggression and depression, and a decreased rate of mental disorder diagnosis, substance use, and involvement with the criminal justice system.

Positive outcomes of the program included improved academic performance, self-esteem, and adaptive coping. 

To be eligible to participate in the free 10-week New Beginnings Program at ASU this fall, a parent must meet all four of these criteria:

• have a child between the ages 3 and 18

• have divorced or separated within the last two yearsor have gone through the court to change the amount of time he/she spends with the child/children during the last two years

• have at least three or more hours of face-to-face contact every week with the child/childrenor have at least one overnight every other week with the child/children

• not be remarried nor have plans to remarry within the next 6 months

Each parent will meet individually with his or her therapist for an hour each week over the 10-week period. The program will be offered at no charge and is set to begin October 6.

The sessions will occur at the ASU Clinical Psychology Treatment Center, which is located on the Tempe campus.

For more information or to enroll in the program, call or email Henry Wynne at 480-965-7296 or Henry.Wynne@asu.edu.

 

Project empowers women to body acceptance 

September 8, 2015

Suffering with body-image issues is something most women deal with during their lives, but a program at Arizona State University is helping to change that.

The Body Project at Arizona State University is the brainchild of ASU's Marisol Perez, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and an ASU REACH scientist. Showing a 60 percent reduction in pathology symptoms – unhealthy behaviors such as "fat talk" – the Body Project is a health program that provides participants with peer support and a set of skills that make a lasting impact. 

"We started to realize it was more than just eating-disorder symptoms that were being improved," said Perez. "So it became kind of a health program instead of an eating-disorder program, with a focus on body acceptance."

Read the full story on ASU News.

 

Program helps families thrive after divorce 

August 24, 2015

As a divorced parent, Sam Coonts makes the most of the time spent with his daughters, planning regular activities he calls "Family Fun Time."

It's an idea he picked up from his participation in the New Beginnings Program, which helps parents and children cope after separation or divorce. The program is a direct product of 30 years of mental-health research at ASU.

Developed by ASU psychology professors Sharlene Wolchik and Irwin Sandler, the program is based on their studies of outcomes of children who undergo divorce. New Beginnings gives parents and youth ideas and skills to cope with the changes that come with family separation, and the program shows benefits to youth well into adulthood in terms of improved mental health and fewer behavior issues.

Coonts said the program has had a positive impact on his family and has helped them adjust to their new life.

"My kids are happier, and I'm happier," he said. "They've become more easy-going, more relaxed. I'm able to trust them more."

Coonts' story is reflective of the REACH Institute's positive impact in the community.

Read the full story on ASU News.

 

Want to help stop violence? Don't 'like' it online 

July 17, 2015


In the wake of several deadly mass shootings, ASU psychology professor Tom Dishion spoke with ASU News and the Huffington Post about how social media may play a role in the spread of violence and aggressive behavior.

Sharing negative or violent news, in the form of "likes" and comments on social media sites such as Facebook, may help to perpetuate the violence, said Dishion, who is the founding director of the ASU REACH Institute.

"When young kids (post online) and get likes, the way they bring attention to themselves through violent things is highly reinforcing," Dishion said. "There's pretty good research that ... they'll do more of it in the future."

Receiving peer approval via social media can have a more penetrating effect than the cultural discussion around violence, he says. But parents can help by talking to their kids and monitoring what their children are posting and liking on social media.

"In general, the more you're engaged with young people the less likely it is they will go down that road," Dishion said. "It's preventative. That's the key message. Words have power."

 

Free therapy program for divorced parents 

June 30, 2015


A free, parenting-focused program for divorced and separating parents is being offered this fall at Arizona State University, as part of a course for advanced graduate students who will be trained to deliver the program.

The New Beginnings Program for divorced and separating parents has been rigorously evaluated with funding from the National Institutes of Health and has been shown to have short- and long-term effects lasting up to 15 years.

Children of parents who participated in the program experienced reduced problem behaviors, such as aggression and depression, and a decreased rate of mental disorder diagnosis, substance use, and involvement with the criminal justice system.

Positive outcomes of the program included improved academic performance, self-esteem, and adaptive coping. 

To be eligible to participate in the free 10-week New Beginnings Program at ASU this fall, a parent must meet all four of these criteria:

have a child between the ages 3 and 18

have divorced or separated within the last two years, or have gone through the court to change the amount of time he/she spends with the child/children during the last two years

have at least three or more hours of face-to-face contact every week with the child/children, or have at least one overnight every other week with the child/children

not be remarried nor have plans to remarry within the next 6 months

Each parent will meet individually with his or her therapist for an hour each week over the 10-week period. The program will be offered at no charge and is set to begin in late September or early October.

The sessions will occur at the ASU Clinical Psychology Treatment Center, which is located on the Tempe campus.

For more information or to enroll in the program, call or email Henry Wynne at 480-965-7296 or Henry.Wynne@asu.edu.

 

Student's online program helps children of divorce cope 

June 2, 2015


ASU alumnus Jesse Boring was featured in ASU News for an online program he developed for children of divorce as part of his disseration at the Prevention Research Center, now called the ASU REACH Institute. 

The program, Children of Divorce – Coping with Divorce, aims to equip children with coping strategies to handle the emotional stressors following their parents' separation.

"Children of divorce are different than other kids. They have stressful things to deal with," Boring said. "There's a lot to cope with."

Boring graduated from ASU's Department of Psychology with a doctorate in clinical psychology. His adviser, Irwin Sandler, a professor at the REACH Institute, said that by learning coping strategies, children can avoid developing mental-health problems down the road.

"Kids acquire a sense, 'I can handle the problems in my life,' " Sandler said. "That's very important, and that translates to [fewer] mental-health problems and a greater sense of efficacy they can move on with."

Read the full article on ASU News.

 

Professors lauded for contributions to prevention science 

May 11, 2015


ASU professors Thomas Dishion and Nancy Gonzales, in the Department of Psychology, within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, have been honored with two prestigious awards from the Society for Prevention Research (SPR): the 2015 Fellowship award and the 2015 Advances in Culture and Diversity in Prevention Science Award.

Dishion has been named a 2015 SPR Fellow. 

The honor is bestowed upon a small and select group of SPR members who have advanced the field of prevention science in a significant and highly influential way. 

Dishion, who has authored more than 350 peer-reviewed scientific publications and has pioneered a model for family intervention called the Family Check-Up, is among the world's leading experts on anti-social behavior in adolescence and prevention and intervention. 

His work has helped bridge the gap between university-based research and real-world needs with a sharp focus on translational research and outreach.

As the founding director of the ASU REACH Institute and the developer of the Family Check-Up, Dishion has led the way in the development and implementation of evidence-based programs aimed at improving mental health services for children and families worldwide.

The Family Check-Up is a strengths-based, family-centered intervention that promotes family management and addresses child and adolescent adjustment problems. It has been disseminated internationally and was most recently employed by the U.S. military.

With an outstanding record of mentorship and NIH-funded research grants, Dishion joins the third cohort of SPR Fellows ever to be honored, as the SPR Fellowship program was established in 2012 and named its first cohort of Fellows in 2013.

Gonzales has been awarded the Advances in Culture and Diversity in Prevention Science Award.

Formerly the Community, Culture and Prevention Science Award, the award is given to an individual or team of individuals for their contributions to the field of prevention science in the area of culture, and recognizes research that enhances understanding of culture in prevention science.

The award recognizes Gonzales' leading research that examines cultural and contextual influences on social, academic and psychological development of youth across the lifespan.

A research scientist with the ASU REACH Institute, Gonzales says the aims of her work are to translate findings into community-based interventions that effectively promote successful adaptation and reduce social inequalities and health disparities for high-risk youth.

As the developer of the Bridges to High School program, Gonzales has helped to diminish drop-out rates and rates of alcohol and illegal drug use among Mexican-American youth.

The awards will be presented to Dishion and Gonzales at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, to take place Thursday, May 28, at the Hyatt Washington, in Washington, D.C.

 

Professor named Arizona Latina Trailblazer

May 5, 2015


ASU research professor Nancy Gonzales has been named a 2015 Arizona Latina Trailblazer.

The recognition, presented by the Raul H. Castro Institute of Phoenix College, took place April 29 at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Gonzales was honored for her research and development of the Bridges to High School intervention program, which has led to decreased drop-out rates and lower rates of alcohol and illegal drug use among Mexican-American children. 

"My primary goal as a social scientist for the past 20 years has been to promote high-quality research that accurately reflects the diverse Latino people of our state and to conduct research that will make a difference," said Gonzales. 

Her scholarship contributions are particularly significant as drop-out rates for Mexican-American youth are reported to be among the highest in the nation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Gonzales is a Foundation Professor in the Department of Psychology, within ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and a scientist with the ASU REACH Institute – a translational research center focused on advancing the health and well-being of children and families through research-based interventions. 

In addition to Gonzales, the Raul H. Castro Institute honored Elvira Espinoza, Patricia Preciado Martin and Rebecca Rios for their trailblazing work. 

Raul H. Castro, Arizona's first, and only, Mexican-American governor, advocated for the environment and bilingual education. Born in Cananea, Mexico, he became a U.S. citizen in 1939 and went on to devote much of his career to public service. 

The award – Arizona Latina Trailblazers: Stories of Courage, Hope, and Determination – is part of the Raul H. Castro Institute's effort to capture and preserve the life stories of extraordinary Latinas who have helped shape the state and its history through their significant contributions and courageous work. 

"It was a tremendous honor to be chosen and to contribute to the collective oral history that the Raul H. Castro Institute is creating along with many remarkable women that have been honored over the years," Gonzales said.