Society for Prevention Research 20th Annual Meeting “Promoting Healthy Living through Prevention Science”
May 29 – June 1, 2012, Hyatt Regency Washington, Washington, DC

Pre-conference Workshops May 29, 2012

SPR abstract submission website is at http://spr2012.abstractcentral.com/.

The Program Committee of the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) invites international and U.S. submissions for presentations within all content areas of public health, education, human services, criminal justice, medical and biobehavioral sciences, developmental science, and genetics as related to the prevention of physical, emotional, and behavioral problems, and the promotion of healthy living and wellbeing. SPR includes members and participants from varied disciplines and areas of research, implementation, and policy making. Type I and Type II translational research (i.e., translating basic science into prevention models; adapting interventions to the real world) is emphasized. Prevention and health promotion research includes a focus on resilience in the face of adversity, enhancement of health-related and positive behaviors, and the reduction of unhealthy and dysfunctional behaviors. Prevention topics across the age span are welcome. Specific disease and physical health topics that are encouraged for submission and that are addressed by prevention include but are not limited to: cancer, diabetes mellitus, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and unintended pregnancy. Behavioral and mental health issues include but are not limited to: family conflict, violence prevention, delinquency, crime, suicide, academic failure, school dropout, unemployment, worker productivity, occupation safety, unintended injury, poverty, and mental health problems and disorders, including depression, substance use, abuse, and addiction (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, prescription, over-the-counter medications, and street drugs). Biobehavioral and genetic topics include but are not limited to: examination of biological and neurobiological underpinnings related to variation in human behavior, gene-environment interplay on physical or mental health outcomes, and interventions that target biobehavioral or genetic risk mechanisms or show effects on such mechanisms. System and policy-related issues include but are not limited to: managed care, reduction of health disparities, policy-based interventions, international prevention strategies, welfare, maternal health, infant and child health, global warming impact on health, and measurement and coordination of social services.

Special Conference Themes

Each year the SPR selects special themes designed to highlight specific areas of research relevant for prevention scientists. These special themes guide the development of plenary sessions, symposia, and preconference workshops. Our intent is to provide an opportunity for conference attendees to explore scientific developments that may influence research in the near future and to create a forum for interdisciplinary interactions. This year, the broad conference theme is “Promoting Healthy Living through Prevention Science.” We seek submissions that fit within this broad theme and include a focus on resilience, adaptation, the development of protective factors, and health-promoting mechanisms and outcomes within and between individuals, dyads, groups, and communities. Three special themes have been established, as described below: promoting physical health, early intervention models that foster resilience, and healthy relationships.

We remain committed to maintaining SPR’s strengths by also providing general conference themes that focus on different stages of the prevention cycle (e.g., epidemiology, etiology, efficacy, etc.). Within the special and general conference themes, we encourage submissions that consider neurobiological and/or genetic mechanisms and methods, including stress reactivity processes (e.g., HPA axis function, cortisol reactivity); behavioral, molecular, and epigenetic studies; and EEG or fMRI-based research. We strongly encourage those submitting to consider one of the special or general themes when crafting their submission.

Promoting physical health: Health conditions and diseases have been identified as pervasive threats to the short- and long-term health and well-being of individuals and societies. Health behaviors, lifestyle habits, and neighborhood contexts (or community level stressors) that increase physical health risks are increasingly recognized as domains that may benefit from intervention and prevention programs that reduce exposure to risk factors and modify the developmental course of disease. Positive relationships between mental health and physical health outcomes are also receiving increasing attention, as are mind-body approaches for promoting physical and mental health (e.g., meditation, mindfulness training, yoga). We strongly encourage submissions in this general domain of prevention science research, particularly on topics related to the promotion of reproductive health, obesity prevention, health behaviors related to HIV risk (e.g., sexual behaviors, substance use), the link between mental and physical health outcomes, and neighborhood and community-level influences and impacts.

Early intervention models that foster resilience in contexts of adversity: The topic of individual resilience to adversity is one of considerable social, scientific, community, clinical, and policy concern, particularly in relation to policies and programs that focus on the early identification, prevention, and treatment of disorder and dysfunction. Resilience-based research aims to identify factors that explain why some individuals exposed to specific risk influences (e.g., early exposure to substance use, maltreatment, harsh economic conditions) experience serious problems across the life course while others show little or no such difficulties. Prevention programs that build on resilience-based research, such that specific risk mechanisms are targeted early in life (prenatally, infancy, early childhood) or early in the life course of the disorder or problem (e.g., onset of a new condition/illness), are of significant importance in replacing negative outcomes with positive trajectories. Research in this area is strongly encouraged.

Healthy relationships: Stable, nonviolent, and nurturing relationships are a fundamental factor in the healthy development of individuals and societies. It is increasingly recognized that individuals who experience healthy interpersonal relations (e.g., caregiver, interparental, sibling, peer, partner) do better across a range of mental, behavioral, and physical health domains across the lifespan. Poor social relationships are a marker for stressed communities and for dysfunctional outcomes for individuals, including increased mental health problems, risk for substance use and violence, reduced physical health, lower economic well-being, increased rates of family breakdown, and involvement in the child welfare and criminal justice systems. Research that promotes an understanding of the underpinnings of diverse healthy interpersonal relationships and skills to foster such relationships across family, peer, adoptive, foster-care, and personal relationship domains is strongly encouraged as well as research on interventions that promote healthy relationships (e.g., utilizing health promotion or prevention frameworks). Etiology, prevention, and intervention research on the understanding of resilience-based processes in the context of high-risk interpersonal relations (e.g., family violence, bullying, dating violence, divorce) are also encouraged within this theme.

General Conference Themes: Advances across the Stages of the Prevention Research Cycle

Epidemiology: Basic behavioral science and epidemiology remain the basis of strong intervention and prevention programs. Submissions focused on describing risk factors within specific populations, especially those with a developmental and/or lifespan approach, or that include neurobiological or genetic methods, are consistent with this theme.

Etiology: Etiological and basic science research efforts generate knowledge that contributes to the development of future preventive efforts. Submissions examining biological and psychosocial factors in the development of risk, problems, and healthy development could be submitted under this theme.

Efficacy Trials: 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). Submissions reporting findings from efficacy trials are welcome and those that combine efficacy trial research with one of the special conference themes are particularly encouraged.

Effectiveness Trials: Effectiveness trials involve replicating an efficacious intervention under real world conditions in community settings.

Dissemination/Implementation Science: Dissemination, implementation, and operations research can help to bridge the gap between clinical research and everyday practice through a dynamic, transactional process between the public health community and researchers. Submissions under this theme should advance the scientific understanding of dissemination strategies, adoption of interventions, intervention fidelity and adaptation, effectiveness, and sustainability of interventions – and outcomes are encouraged at the individual, provider, organizational, and system level. Operations research can inform how best to effectively and cost-effectively overcome the real-world challenges of implementation.

Innovative Methods and Statistics: “Cutting edge” studies and methodological analyses that address measurement, statistical and design challenges to prevention science, as well as the benefits offered by various innovative statistical methods are invited. Submissions describing strategies that have been designed or used to help overcome some of these unique challenges to prevention science are especially encouraged.

Research to Inform Policy and Practice: Researchers often emphasize the lack of attention to research findings in guiding policy and decision making. Policymakers often highlight that much research addresses topics that are not policy-relevant, produces ambiguous or conflicting findings, or reports 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 on how and under what conditions research could be used to influence policy and practice, on how policy priorities shape what researchers study, or on the impact of policy (e.g., tobacco taxes, laws that establish minimum legal drinking age, calorie menu labeling) on health behavior are encouraged.

Systems Science Perspectives: Exploring the use of systems science approaches (e.g., computational modeling and simulation, network analysis, engineering control methods) to conceptualize prevention at the micro- or macro-levels of analyses is encouraged. Systems science involves taking into account the big picture in all its complexity (i.e., a system view) while also taking into account the important relationships between components of a system and changes in the system over time. For more information on how “systems science,” is defined, please visit the following website: http://obssr.od.nih.gov/scientific_areas/methodology/systems_science/index.aspx

NIDA International SPR Poster Session
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is sponsoring an international poster session. Posters will highlight prevention and prevention-related research completed in international settings by international, domestic, and cross-nation teams of researchers. A separate call for submissions to this international poster session will be issued. Click here to view the Call for Posters NIDA International Poster Session

All abstracts will be submitted on-line at www.preventionresearch.org.
Please contact Jennifer Lewis for questions at 703-934-4850, ext. 213 or jenniferlewis@preventionresearch.org.

SPR abstract submission website is at http://spr2012.abstractcentral.com/.