Delaware Project Awards University of Arizona Student for Pilot Intervention to Help Teen Boys

A program aimed at redefining clinical psychological science training has recognized Jennifer Duchschere, a graduate student at the University of Arizona, for a novel intervention she created and piloted for adolescent males in juvenile detention.

Duchschere is the recipient of the Delaware Project Student Award in recognition of her BREAK intervention program’s role in bringing laboratory research into community settings for juvenile justice populations. The award includes $1,000 for travel to the Academy of Psychological and Clinical Science (APCS) meeting at the 31st APS Annual Convention May 23 – 26 in Washington, DC and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) conference November 21 – 24 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Duchschere’s Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) based program integrates previous findings on psychopathology, psychotherapy, and intimate partner violence with input from community stakeholders throughout the development and implementation process. In her pilot study, 130 adolescent boys residing in an Arizona juvenile detention center participated in up to six sessions of BREAK therapy or received standard-of-care (SOC) without ACT intervention.

Participants who completed at least four BREAK sessions were found to demonstrate reduced anxiety, experiential avoidance, cognitive fusion, and values obstruction in self-reports and interviews. A review of criminal record data also revealed that participants who completed the entire BREAK program had fewer detainments and arrests in the year following the intervention than those in the SOC group.

The Delaware Project’s student award recognizes student researchers whose work helps bridge the “science to service gap” in mental health care. Duchschere will present on her findings at the upcoming APCS meeting as well as the Dissemination & Implementation Science Special Interest Group meeting at the ABCT conference in November, 2019.

The Delaware Project reenvisions the way in which clinical scientists are trained, and proposes a new way of developing and implementing clinical interventions that integrates clinical practice with the latest scientific research. Organizations collaborating on the project include the University of Delaware, ABCT, the National Institutes of Health, and SAGE Publishing.

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