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Summaries of RCT Grants

RCT of Youth Guidance’s Working on Womanhood Program, a cognitive-behavioral therapy program for disadvantaged female high school students at risk of mental illness

This is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Working on Womanhood (WOW), a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) program for disadvantaged female high school students at high risk of mental illness.

Grant Recipient: University of Chicago

Term: 2018 –2022

Principal Investigator: Harold Pollack, Ph.D., Harvard University

Funding: $1,108,149

Summary: This is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Working on Womanhood (WOW), a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) program for disadvantaged female high school students at high risk of mental illness.

The prior evidence for CBT-based programs serving youth at risk of mental illness – including a Cochrane Collaboration review – suggests that WOW has the potential to meaningfully reduce rates of clinical PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Similar programs (e.g., school-based CBT for adolescents in Los Angeles who had been exposed to violence) have been previously shown to produce such improvements in mental health status (though these studies generally had only short-term follow-up).

The City of Chicago has expanded access to WOW as part of its $36 million mentoring initiative. The RCT includes a sample 1,500 youth who have been randomly assigned to receive WOW or usual services, and will measure WOW’s impact on mental health status, academic achievement, and criminal activity.

The study’s pre-specified analysis plan is linked here.

Grants

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