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28-04-2020 | Uitgave 2/2020

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 2/2020

A Strategic Plan for Strengthening America’s Families: A Brief from the Coalition of Behavioral Science Organizations

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review > Uitgave 2/2020
Anthony Biglan, Karen Elfner, S. Andrew Garbacz, Kelli Komro, Ronald J. Prinz, Mark D. Weist, Dawn K. Wilson, Amie Zarling
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Author Notes

The authors are members of the Family Nurturance Task Force convened by the Coalition of Behavioral Science Organizations (CBSO). The member organizations in the CBSO are the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, the Association for Positive Behavior Support, the Evolution Institute, the National Prevention Science Coalition, and the Society for Behavioral Medicine. Order of authorship was determined alphabetically.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Despite significant progress in research on the treatment and prevention of psychological, behavioral, and health problems, the translation of this knowledge into population-wide benefit remains limited. This paper reviews the state of America’s children and families, highlighting the influence of stressful contextual and social conditions on child and family well-being and the concentration of disadvantage in numerous neighborhoods and communities throughout the nation. It then briefly reviews the progress that has been made in pinpointing policies that can reduce stressful contextual conditions such as poverty, discrimination, and the marketing of unhealthful foods and substances. It also describes numerous family and school interventions that have proven benefit in preventing psychological and behavioral problems as diverse as tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use; depression; antisocial behavior; academic failure; obesity prevention; and early childbearing. We argue that progress in translating existing knowledge into widespread benefit will require a nationwide effort to intervene comprehensively in neighborhoods and communities of concentrated disadvantage. We present a strategic plan for how such an effort could be organized. The first step in this organizing would be the creation of a broad and diverse coalition of organizations concerned with advancing public health and well-being. Such a coalition could increase public support both for the policies needed to focus on these disadvantaged areas and the research needed to incrementally improve our ability to help these areas.

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