Marianne Leuzinger-BohleberKatrin Luise LäzerNicole Pfenning-MeerkötterVerena NeubertBernhard RügerTamara Fischmann

Preventing socio-emotional disturbances in children at risk

The EVA study


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In Germany the gap between children growing up in privileged conditions and those living in poverty on the fringe of society is widening. Neglect and violence in early childhood may lead to future psychosomatic and mental illnesses such as depression and addiction. Therefore it deems necessary to provide early interventions to children, their parents, and caretakers in institutions in socially challenged neighborhoods, in order to prevent socio-emotional disturbance in children at risk. How this can be done, will be exemplified in this paper by the EVA study (Evaluation of two prevention programs in early childhood care centres with children-at-risk) in which two prevention programs – “Eearly Steps”and “Faustlos” (“Without fists”) – are implemented in early childhood care centers (ECCCs) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The EVA study was conceptualized as a longitudinal cluster randomized study, where the ECCCs – randomly chosen on the basis of a representative baseline survey conducted in 2003 of all ECCCs in Frankfurt am Main (n = 5,300) – are all located in socioeconomically deprived neighborhoods. It is a good example for early intervention. The trial involved 298 children aged 3 to 4. Some preliminary findings illustrated with case examples serve to discuss implications on how early intervention may help to prevent socio-emotional disturbances.

Early intervention in kindergartens; Prevention; Attachment research; Manchester Child Attachment Story Task (MCAST); Faustlos; Children-at-risk; Psychoanalysis