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Keywords:

  • interventions;
  • low-income;
  • mental health services;
  • schools;
  • urban;
  • youth

[Clin Psychol Sci Prac 18: 372–390, 2011]

A systematic and meta-analytic review was conducted of the effectiveness of school-based mental health and behavioral programs for low-income, urban youth. Applying criteria from an earlier systematic review (Rones & Hoagwood, 2000) of such programs for all populations indicated substantially fewer effective programs for low-income, urban youth. The meta-analysis similarly failed to indicate effects of the typical program on primary outcomes. Effectiveness was evident, however, for programs that targeted internalizing problems or had a broader socio-emotional focus and those delivered to all youth (i.e., universal). In contrast, negative effects were apparent for programs that targeted externalizing problems and were delivered selectively to youth with existing problems. Distinctive characteristics of low-income, urban schools and nonschool environments are emphasized as potential explanations for the findings.