for Prevention Research
for Papers 16th Annual Meeting
and Prevention Science"
Regency San Francisco Embarcadero Center
May 28 – May 30, 2008
Pre-conference Workshops May 27, 2008
for Papers (PDF)
to the Abstract Submission Site Now
The Program Committee of the Society for Prevention
Research (SPR) invites submissions for presentations within
all content areas of public health, education, human services,
criminal justice, and medical science. Relevant focus areas
include, but are not limited to: health disparities, health
promotion and disease prevention, maternal health, suicide,
infant and child health, mental health/mental disorders, family
conflict, substance abuse and addiction (alcohol, tobacco,
illicit drugs), violence, delinquency, crime, academic failure,
dropping-out of school, child maltreatment, obesity, cardiovascular
disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, HIV/AIDS and other sexually
transmitted disease, unintended pregnancy, unemployment, occupation
safety, auto crashes, unintended injury, poverty, welfare,
managed care, and policy-based interventions.
The theme for the 2008 conference is “Context
and Prevention Science”. While most agree that “context
matters”, relatively little research in prevention science
has been conducted that aids understanding of the ways in
which context matters in designing interventions and understanding
intervention impact. In addition, as the science moves forward
to better understand gene and environment interactions in
development, it is clear that many questions about environment
remain – questions of definition, processes, intervention
targets, measurement and a myriad of methodological challenges.
As outlined below, submissions that include a focus on context
across all areas of prevention science from epidemiology to
dissemination research are strongly encouraged. Submissions
for presentations may include individual paper and poster
presentations, organized paper symposia, poster forums, round-table
discussions/scientific dialogue sessions, and technology demonstrations.
Context and Prevention. SPR strongly encourages
submissions focused on understanding the role of social and
physical settings – such as families, peer groups, schools,
and neighborhoods – as contexts for both development
and settings of interventions. For example, there has been
limited investigation of the relation of neighborhood context
to preventive intervention outcomes, despite increasing empirical
evidence documenting community and neighborhood characteristics’
relation to psychosocial and health outcomes both directly
and through the interaction with other social settings. Characteristics
of neighborhood and community contexts may be important in
both intervention content and understanding variation in intervention
impact. Submissions that focus on the physical or structural
characteristics and social processes within settings as related
to the development of interventions and in modifying intervention
impact, the interaction between settings, as well as multilevel
measurement and analytic methods appropriate for such analyses
are all strongly encouraged. Submissions focused on larger
social, political, cultural or economic contexts are also
Research, Policy and Practice. Researchers
often complain about the lack of attention to research findings
to guide policy and decision making. Policymakers often complain
that researchers address topics that are not policy-relevant,
produce ambiguous or conflicting findings or report findings
in ways that are inaccessible to policymakers. Both groups
suggest that high-quality research could and should be used
to inform and shape policies and practices. Submissions presenting
research on how and under what conditions research is used
to influence policies and practices or how policy priorities
shape what researchers study are encouraged.
The Role of Culture, Ethnicity and Health
Disparities in Prevention Research. SPR continues to focus
on better understanding issues related to health disparities.
Submissions are encouraged that articulate how prevention
science can address several key factors: biological, behavioral,
social environment, physical environment, and policies\ to
reduce health disparities and to promote health and well-being.
Emerging Adulthood. Each year, SPR focuses
on a different stage of development. The 2008 conference invites
special attention to the developmental period of emerging
adulthood, which extends roughly through the ages 18 to 29.
Recent research has identified this period of development
as distinct from both adolescence and young adulthood and
a period of time often characterized by instability and identity
exploration. This developmental stage provides a unique opportunity
for intervention, as individuals move toward young adulthood
and responsibilities of work, partnered relationships and
parenthood. Developing a better understanding of interventions
to prevent problem behaviors, the mechanisms of such preventive
interventions, and promote positive development, as well as
gaining better insight into this developmental period would
be of substantial value for the field.
Advances across the Stages
of the Prevention Research Cycle
Knowing the prevalence of specific problems or disorders,
the distribution of risk factors in the population, shifts
in risk factors and the distribution of problems over time
are critical prerequisites to designing effective prevention
programs. An emphasis on basic behavioral science and epidemiology
will remain the basis of strong intervention and prevention
programs. Epidemiological studies typically reflect phase
1 and 2 trials in a biomedical model of intervention development.
Special Interest Areas:
• The use of community monitoring systems to affect
behavioral changes in settings
• Variations by community, socioeconomic status, race
Prevention science includes research that has a high probability
of yielding results that will likely be applicable to disease
prevention. Basic research efforts generate knowledge that
contributes to the development of future preventive efforts.
Etiological studies typically reflect Phase 1 trials in a
Special Interest Area:
• Interactions among genetic, environmental and developmental
factors in the etiology of problem behaviors (e.g., substance
use, aggression), obesity, and other health problems.
Efficacy trials demonstrate the “proof of concept”
with a specified population under conditions of high quality
assurance and strong research designs (typically randomized
controlled designs). Efficacy trials answer the basic question
of whether there are benefits from a proposed innovation.
In a biomedical model of intervention development, these are
Phase 3 trials.
Special Interest Areas:
• Outcomes most relevant to the developmental concerns
of emerging adulthood including, HIV, substance use, child
maltreatment, obesity, suicide, violence, partner violence
The true test of a prevention program is the effectiveness
in the real-life setting with the community in charge of the
program. Effectiveness trials involve replicating an efficacious
intervention under real world conditions in community settings.
There is less quality assurance on an ongoing basis and the
outcomes demonstrate the likely impact of an intervention
when delivered without the original research team. In a biomedical
model, these are Phase 4 trials.
Special Interest Area:
• Studies that evaluate variation in preventive intervention
impact by population or setting characteristics.
Careful trials to assess which programs would be particularly
well suited for dissemination, which individuals would be
most likely to benefit, and which disorders are prevented
are important steps in program development. Dissemination
research identifies strategies for taking interventions to
scale and identifies potential barriers to dissemination.
Special Interest Areas:
• Type II translational research, including effectiveness
and dissemination research directed toward scaling up efficacious
• Examples of effective strategies for the advocacy
and promotion of evidence-based programs and policies at the
federal, state and local levels.
Prevention science owes much of its progress to the development
of new measures, designs, and statistical analyses. Continued
contributions to the development of innovations in prevention
science methods are vital to our progress. For example, mixed-methods
approaches that integrate qualitative and quantitative methodologies
within a unified research design may offer more informative
research results, although this approach still lacks robustness
and scientific rigor. “Cutting edge” studies and
methodological analyses are welcomed that address measurement,
statistical, methodological and practical challenges to prevention
science, as well as the benefits offered by various innovative
Special Interest Areas:
• Integrating qualitative and quantitative methods.
• Analysis of multi-level data from community studies.
• Issues modeling cross-level interactions in community-based
• Translating cutting-edge analytic methods into approaches
that are accessible to both researchers and consumers of prevention
are submitted on-line at www.preventionresearch.org
The abstract site
will open Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Deadline for Submission:
Monday, October 29, 2007
Acceptance decisions are expected early March 2008.
Society for Prevention
11240 Waples Mill Road, Ste 200
Fairfax, VA 22030
703-934-4850, 703-359-7562 fax