TABLE 13-1Examples of Potential Components of a Prevention System That Supports Developmental Phases

Developmental StageIn the Absence of InterventionsIllustrative Intervention Opportunities
Conception, pregnancy, postpartumHigh risk of postpartum depressionPregnant women screened routinely for risk factors and provided needed interventions, such as mood management training, home visitation, and nutritional counseling to prevent maternal depression during child’s critical developmental stages
Baby at risk for problems of attachment, later preschool or school problems, or later depression if mother is depressedWell-baby visits to screen and intervene for developmental problems, abnormal feeding patterns, interactions with mother or other caretaker
InfancyInfant at risk for abnormal developmentScreening is offered for age- appropriate behaviors and evidence of normal brain development
Early behavioral difficulties increase risk for later bonding problems, negative patterns of parent-child interactionsOn-time remedial interventions are offered, such as parent training and referral to a developmental specialist
Preschool yearsChild does not receive early cognitive stimulationCaregivers are encouraged to read to their children
Child does not learn self-efficacy, prosocial skills, or appropriate school behaviorsIn-home and out-of-home enrichment experiences such as early childhood education are offered for the child to build skills needed for school and social success
Families receive needed parenting support to foster nurturing relationships
Primary schoolChild has difficulty establishing positive relationships with peers, caregivers, or teachersFamilies and schools increase nurturance and decrease punitive experiences
Child does not experience early successesChildren learn skills to enhance school performance and manage problem behaviors
Middle schoolEarly adolescent engages in risky behaviors, such as smoking, using alcohol or other drugs, delinquency, or risky sexual behaviorFamilies and schools provide high- level reinforcement for prosocial behavior
Early adolescent experiences few academic successes and bonds with deviant peersYoung people at risk due to academic or peer-interaction problems are identified and provided with individual or family intervention options
High schoolAdolescent lacks self-esteem, has limited academic success, engages in antisocial behaviors, and does not develop positive health habitsFamily- and school-focused programs shape attitudes and behaviors around substance abuse, delinquency, and sexual behaviors and provide self-identity and coping skills
Depression, conduct disorder, and substance abuse increaseAdolescents are routinely screened for early signs of depression and other MEB disorders, with appropriate interventions provided
Young adulthoodYoung adult flounders in transition to independence, including continued education, employment, marriage, and childrearingCommunity programs support decisions about education, work and relationships, and model parenting skills, including constructive parent–child communication
Young adults struggle with readiness to have and to parent childrenInterventions are available in college, the workplace, and community settings as needed to reduce obstacles to raising a family, including academic, job-related, and marital difficulties

From: 13, Toward an Improved Approach to Prevention

Cover of Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People
Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities.
National Research Council (US) and Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Prevention of Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse Among Children, Youth, and Young Adults: Research Advances and Promising Interventions; O'Connell ME, Boat T, Warner KE, editors.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2009.
Copyright © 2009, National Academy of Sciences.

NCBI Bookshelf. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.