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Intervention Summary

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Footprints for Life

Footprints for Life is a universal intervention that is designed to help 2nd- and 3rd-grade students build a strong foundation of life skills rooted in key social competencies. The curriculum-based program focuses on planning and decisionmaking, cultural competence, and interpersonal skills, such as handling peer pressure (e.g., refusal skills) and resolving conflicts peacefully. Information on tobacco and alcohol is provided within the context of refusal skills, as are discussions about seeking help from caring and supportive adults when confronted with situations that make the child feel inadequate or fearful.

Footprints for Life is a 6-week curriculum with weekly lessons, and each lesson is designed to be taught during a classroom session of approximately 40 minutes. A trained interventionist with at least a bachelor's degree, preferably in education or public health, facilitates the program through the use of relaxation techniques, role-plays, focused exercises, and activities that include puppets and stories featuring real-life situations experienced through a fictional soccer team. Homework to reinforce language and techniques for communicating feelings and problems is assigned weekly to reinforce the classroom sessions and requires supervision by a parent or guardian. Parents or guardians, as well as classroom teachers, are strongly encouraged to promote the use of this language to further reinforce the value of the curriculum and the concepts learned.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Substance abuse prevention
Outcomes Review Date: June 2011
1: Social competence
Outcome Categories Social functioning
Ages 6-12 (Childhood)
Genders Data were not reported/available.
Races/Ethnicities Asian
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
White
Settings Home
School
Geographic Locations Urban
Implementation History Footprints for Life was first implemented during the 2003-2004 school year in 21 classrooms from two school districts in Middlesex County, New Jersey. It has since been implemented in approximately 200 classrooms in dozens of school districts in Illinois, New Jersey, and New York. Approximately 40,000 students have completed the six-lesson curriculum in the past 7 years.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations Footprints for Life has been adapted for delivery in Spanish. In addition to language translation, the characters, stories, and activities have been revised to be more culturally relevant for participants whose primary language is Spanish.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal

Quality of Research
Review Date: June 2011

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Institute for Families. (2011, April). Footprints for Life: Evaluation report. Prepared for NCADD of Middlesex County, Inc. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers School of Social Work.

Supplementary Materials

Footprints for Life Implementation Form

Footprints for Life Parent Involvement Tracking Forms

Footprints for Life Referral Tracking Form

Psychometric information on Social Competence Scale

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Social competence
Description of Measures Social competence of students was assessed using two scales:

  • Adapted version of the Social Competence Scale--Teacher Version. The original version of this scale includes three subscales: prosocial communication (8 questions), emotional regulation (10 questions), and academic skills (7 questions). The adapted scale includes the prosocial communication and emotional regulation subscales; however, it does not include the academic skills subscale because the intervention does not focus on improving children's academic skills. Instead, the adapted scale includes 7 questions regarding skills related to managing peer pressure. Using the adapted scale at pre- and posttest, teachers rated the extent to which students engaged in 25 different behaviors reflecting prosocial communication, emotional regulation, and skills for dealing with peer pressure.
  • Adapted version of the Social Competence Scale--Parent Version. The original version of this scale includes two subscales: prosocial communication (6 questions) and emotional regulation (6 questions). The adapted scale includes these subscales and also incorporates 7 questions regarding skills related to managing peer pressure. Using the adapted scale at pre- and posttest, parents rated the extent to which selected students engaged in 19 different behaviors reflecting prosocial communication, emotional regulation, and skills for dealing with peer pressure.
All respondents rated the behaviors (e.g., "thinks before acting," "is helpful to others") on a 5-point, Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 5 (very well). Higher mean scores indicate more social competence.
Key Findings Participants were 2nd- and 3rd-grade students who were randomly assigned to the intervention group or to a wait-list control group. Results included the following:

  • Ratings from teachers indicated a statistically significant difference in mean social competence scores between the intervention and control groups from pre- to posttest (p = .006), with the intervention group's mean score increasing from 3.56 to 3.86 and the control group's score decreasing from 3.64 to 3.55. The effect size for this result is large (partial eta-squared = .14).
  • Ratings from parents did not indicate a statistically significant difference in mean social competence scores between the intervention and control groups from pre- to posttest, although the intervention group's mean score increased from 3.77 to 3.84 and the control group's mean score decreased from 3.65 to 3.63.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.5 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 6-12 (Childhood) Data not reported/available 78.8% White
9.4% Hispanic or Latino
7.1% Asian
4.7% Black or African American

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Social competence 3.2 3.2 2.0 2.0 2.0 3.0 2.5

Study Strengths

The study used scales adapted from measures that are well researched and known to have good psychometric values. Good internal consistency reliability and validity also were reported for the adapted scales. Both parents and teachers served as data sources. Analyses were appropriate; for example, repeated measures analyses were used to assess for differences in social competency between intervention and control group participants from pre- to posttest, and effect size was reported.

Study Weaknesses

The Footprints for Life Implementation Form has unknown or unspecified psychometric properties, and there is no indication that fidelity data were collected in a systematic fashion. A large number of teachers in the intervention condition did not complete posttests, resulting in a much lower rate of completed evaluations in comparison with teachers in the control condition. Neither parents nor teachers were blind to the study condition of the students they rated, which introduced the potential for bias in their ratings. Demographic data or other information was not gathered to rule out preexisting between-classroom differences in variables, which raises concerns about potential confounds.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: June 2011

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

Institute for Families. (2009, February). Footprints for Life: Evaluation report. Prepared for NCADD of Middlesex County, Inc. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers School of Social Work.

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Middlesex County, Inc. (2010). Footprints for Life: The first steps in prevention education [Brochure]. East Brunswick, NJ: Author.

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Middlesex County, Inc. (n.d.). Footprints for Life: Curriculum CD. East Brunswick, NJ: Author

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Middlesex County, Inc. (n.d.). Footprints for Life: Teacher's manual: A curriculum for second and third grade students. East Brunswick, NJ: Author.

Program Web site, http://www.footprintsforlife.org/

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
3.3 3.9 2.8 3.3

Dissemination Strengths

The comprehensive teacher's manual provides a background and rationale for the intervention, as well as a step-by-step guide for implementation. Clear goals and objectives are stated for each lesson, and lists of needed materials and suggested lesson plans are included. Descriptions of the target audience and session length are provided, and sessions are broken down into steps. The program Web site includes resources for parents and teachers and exercises for kids and parents, which enhance the lessons presented in the classroom. Marketing materials are provided and can be used to describe key program elements and evaluation results to funders or decisionmakers. On-site training is provided, and training materials are easy to access and understand. Contact information for support from the developers is provided on the program Web site and in program materials. A parent inventory tracking form, fidelity measure, and teacher and student evaluations are available to support quality assurance.

Dissemination Weaknesses

There is minimal discussion of optimal implementation requirements, such as organizational structure and group size. Some materials are difficult to locate and manage, given the assortment of items available in hard copy, online, or in both formats. There is limited guidance on how to use the kids and parents features of the Web site in conjunction with the print materials used in the classroom. Implementation sites are encouraged to use a train-the-trainer model, but guidance and materials to support this model are limited. Fidelity tools are not well designed or adapted for practical application by implementers. No protocol is provided for administering evaluation instruments.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
Curriculum license (includes teacher's manual, curriculum CD, and evaluation report) $3,000 per license Yes
Additional teacher's manuals $100 each No
1-day, on-site training $1,000 for up to 10 participants and $100 for each additional participant, plus travel expenses Yes
Phone, email, and Web support Included in cost of license No
Replications

Selected citations are presented below. An asterisk indicates that the document was reviewed for Quality of Research.

Center for Children and Families. (2004, October). Footprints for Life evaluation report: NCADD of Middlesex County, Inc. Final report. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers School of Social Work.

Center for Children and Families. (2006, January). Footprints for Life: Evaluation report. Presented to NCADD of Middlesex County, Inc. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers School of Social Work.

Center for Children and Families. (2006, October). Footprints for Life: Evaluation report. Presented to NCADD of Middlesex County, Inc. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers School of Social Work.

Institute for Families. (2009, November). Footprints for Life: Evaluation report. Prepared for NCADD of Middlesex County, Inc. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers School of Social Work.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
Steven G. Liga, M.S.W., LSW, LCADC, CPS, CCS
(732) 254-3344 ext 11
steve@ncadd-middlesex.org

To learn more about research, contact:
Donna Van Alst, M.S.W.
(732) 445-0512 ext 109
vanalst@ssw.rutgers.edu

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.

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