1. Fast Track

Fast Track

Program Goals

Fast Track is a comprehensive, long-term prevention program that aims to prevent chronic and severe conduct problems in high-risk children. It is based on the view that antisocial behavior stems from the interaction of multiple influences such as school, home, and the individual. The main goals of the program are to increase communication and bonds between and among these three domains; to enhance children’s social, cognitive, and problem-solving skills; to improve peer relationships; and ultimately to decrease disruptive behavior at home and in school.


Target Population

The program targets children identified in kindergarten for disruptive behavior and poor peer relations. The program can be implemented in rural and urban areas for boys and girls of varying ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and family compositions.


Program Components

Fast Track extends from 1st through 10th grades, with particularly intensive interventions during the transitions at school entry and from elementary to middle school. The primary intervention is designed for all youths in a school setting. The PATHS (for Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies) curriculum was revised for use in the Fast Track program. In addition to this universal intervention, Fast Track includes an intervention component for children considered high risk. This includes academic tutoring, parent groups, child social-skills training, and home visits. The most intense phase of intervention took place in the first grade year for each of three successive cohorts.


Program Theory

The developmental model guiding this project indicates that an effective prevention program would address classroom, school risk, and family risk factors, including communication between parents and schools.

Intervention ID

5 to 15


Study 1

Conduct Problems

The evaluation by the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group (2002) found that at the end of grade 3, participants in the treatment group were significantly less likely than control group participants to exhibit evidence of serious conduct problems. Five of the eight variables for child conduct yielded significant main effects. Teacher and parent ratings on child conduct revealed significantly lower conduct problems for the intervention group, compared with the control group. Peer nominations of aggressive-disruptive behavior and one parent measure (the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children) yielded no significant differences between the two groups.


Social Cognition

At the end of grade 3, the proportion of competent responses on a social problem-solving measure was marginally higher for intervention children than for the control group. In addition, intervention children generated marginally fewer hostile attributions about peer intentions than the control group children.


Academic Progress

At the end of grade 3, there were no significant differences between the groups on reading or on grades for language arts or mathematics.


Child Social Competence

At the end of grade 3, there were no significant effects of intervention on the sociometric measures of peer social preference and prosocial behavior.


Parenting Behavior

At the end of grade 3, there was less parental endorsement of physical punishment for children’s problem behaviors and greater self-reported improvement in parenting behavior, compared with reports of the control group.

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