Reppucci (1987) - American Journal of Community Psychology,...

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American Journal of Community Psychology, Vol. 15, No. 1, 1987 Prevention and Ecology: Teen-Age Pregnancy, Child Sexual Abuse, and Organized Youth Sports 1 N. Dickon Reppucci 2 University of Virginia A multilevel ecological analysis of issues that impact on children and families is advocated as the best theoretical framework for conceptualizing preven- tive interventions. Teen-age pregnancy and child sexual abuse are discussed as targets of preventive intervention: the former being an issue about which we have much information that has not been adequately used, whereas the latter is one about which we have too little information to be mounting the sweeping prevention programs that are rapidly coming into existence. Organized youth sports is then discussed as a neglected societal vehicle for prevention. Prevention has arrived in the parlor of mental health or, at the very least, is knocking at the front door. Inspired by advances in the prevention of physical disorders (e.g., Maccoby & Alexander, 1979) and fostered by a general shift toward interactionism in psychological theory (Goldfried, 1980; Mischel, 1977), mental health services have adopted prevention as an organiz- ing principle (President's Commission, 1978). Since the Community Mental Health Act of 1963 and Caplan's (1964) adaptation of the public health con- cepts of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention, a wide array of mental health services have been dubbed "preventive." Approaches as diverse as 1Presidential address presented to Division 27 (Community Psychology) of the American Psychological Association annual convention in Washington, DC, August 24, 1986. The author expresses his appreciation to his former and current graduate students, Jeffrey Haugaard, Edward Mulvey, Laura Kastner, Mindy Rosenberg, Rick Seidel, Kirsten Rowe, and Jinger Atteberry-Bennett, whose collaborations made this piece possible. Also thanks are due to Louise Spangler, Debbie Mundie, and Rosalind Johnson for their assistance at various stages in the preparation of this manuscript. 2All correspondence should be sent to N. Dickon Reppucci, Department of Psychology, 301 Gilmer Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903. 0091-0562/87/0200-0001505.00/0 © 1987 Plenum Publishing Corporation
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2 Reppucci standard therapeutic treatment and social action have been considered under this same theoretical umbrella (Bloom, 1978; Cowen, 1977). Institutionaliza- tion is "prevented" by drug maintenance of patients in the community; crime is "prevented" by neighborhood watch programs; disruptive young children are "prevented" from further school problems by tutoring programs. Although prevention is not based on a solid set of theoretical principles and proven approaches (Price, Bader, & Ketterer, 1980), the general goal of prevention, i.e., short-circuiting the onset of disorders by early or global intervention, is as difficult to argue against (President's Commission, 1978) as it is to define operationally. Fortunately, refinement of general preven- tion notions is presently occurring. Accounts of successful prevention efforts
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Reppucci (1987) - American Journal of Community Psychology,...

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