CBC in the Rural Communities

CBCThe Children with social-behavioral problems early in their school careers are at high risk of developing long-term, pervasive, intractable problems. Conjoint Behavioral Consultation (CBC) is an indirect intervention that allows for individuation of parent- and teacher-delivered behavior plans that are grounded in ecological-behavioral theory, supported by empirical evidence, and implemented across multiple settings to ensure the intensity and continuity in programming necessary for students with behavioral problems. Ample evidence for the efficacy of CBC exists, including that emanating from small-n experimental designs and randomized trials in urban and suburban school settings. However, schools in rural settings struggle to access specialized services, including consultation and parent involvement programs. Most teachers indicate that supporting children’s behavioral and mental health needs are part of their role, but they feel unprepared to meet the educational needs of students with behavioral problems. Enhancing availability of and access to supports for both teachers and parents in rural schools represents one means of augmenting the quality of education in rural settings. The purpose of this project is to test the efficacy of CBC in rural Nebraska elementary schools. We will determine if CBC (shown to produce a net positive impact for K-3 students exhibiting disruptive classroom behaviors in urban settings) will produce similar effects in rural settings where resources for specialized behavioral supports are few, and interactions between families and schools are less frequent. Given our long-term goal of determining the effectiveness of CBC in natural educational settings, there is a need to ensure its efficacy in diverse geographic educational contexts. This study represents an important next step along a line of systematic CBC research that will result in broad-based scale up efforts.

A randomized experimental design will be used to evaluate the efficacy of CBC on student, parent, and teacher outcomes. Ninety teachers of students grades K-3 in rural school settings will participate in the study. Teachers will be randomly assigned to the CBC intervention or the control condition. Within each classroom, two to three students demonstrating elevated levels of disruptive behaviors will be selected for participation. A total of 270 students and their parents will serve as participants. Students will receive services consistent with the condition within which their teacher is assigned; thus, they will be respectively assigned to the CBC intervention condition or the “business as usual” control condition (i.e., typical student support). This sample will be recruited in three cohorts over 3 years, and both the immediate and long-term (i.e., one year following participation) effects of CBC will be evaluated. Dependent variables include student behavior and academic functioning, parent/teacher beliefs and practices, and the parent-teacher relationship. Parent and teacher rating scales, direct observations of student behavior, and permanent products generated from parents, teachers, and consultants will be collected. Mediation and moderation will be explored to determine mechanisms by which CBC exerts its influence, and implementation conditions influencing its effects. The statistical analyses for this project will incorporate cross-sectional multilevel (i.e., hierarchical linear) models, which will allow us to simultaneously examine the influence of the treatment and important covariates, while appropriately accounting for the nested structure of the data.

Project Key Investigators: Susan Sheridan (PI), Todd Glover (Co-PI), Gina Kunz (Co-PI), James Bovaird (Co-PI)
Project Manager: Amanda Witte
Research Director: Frances Chumney
Statistical Consultant: James Bovaird