Office for Clinical and Applied Research
The purpose of the Office for Clinical and Applied Research (OCAR) is to conduct targeted educational research in the clinical and applied arena. OCAR faculty, research associates, and graduate students have developed partnerships with local educational systems and mental health agencies as well as faculty and graduate students in the Counselor Education Program and other service-related departments at the University of Arkansas. The primary mission of OCAR is to conduct research on and provide services to children at-risk (academically, physically, and emotionally) through delivery-based grants. The outcomes of our research have made a practical impact on the delivery of services for children in Northwest Arkansas and beyond.
The educational and clinical/applied arenas are experiencing a paradigm shift toward more outcome-based empirically supported research. Further, grant funding agencies, departments of education, and other similar entities are now requiring outcome-based empirical research for the programs they support. As such, the efforts at OCAR have led to increased understanding of the psychometric properties of assessment tools and research models based in empirical findings that can be applied to the delivery of educational and clinical/applied services.
The Psychosocial Education and Prevention Series (PEPS) Program was implemented in the Fayetteville School District in 2008. The PEPS Program provides both universal and selective intervention and prevention programs. OCAR provides school-wide intervention programs for elementary school teachers on addressing the issues of bullying. The model is based on Bully Busters (Horne, Bartolomucci, & Newman-Carlson, 2003). OCAR also provides two selective intervention programs for elementary school students. First, the Psychosocial Educational Groups for Students (PEGS) Program is a 6-week series of traditional prevention psychoeducation topics that help elementary school students improve relationships with their peers and feel better about themselves. The majority of students who participate in the PEGS program have low self-esteem and exhibit problem behaviors. Second, the At-Risk Kids Program for Bullied Children (ARK) Program is a 6-week series of targeted prevention psychoeducation topics that help elementary school students who exhibit behaviors related to being a victim of peer harassment (bullied) as well as students exhibiting bullying behaviors. The PEPS Series Program or any of its individual components is available to additional school districts.
The PEPS Program is also in the process of examining the following issues: 1) the relationship between types of bullying and victimization and internalization and externalization, 2) indicators of teacher efficacy in relation to peer victimization, and 3) undiagnosed Autism vs. problem behavior.
OCAR worked with the Counselor Education Program and the Center for Research on Aggression and Violence (CRAV) in the Department of Psychology, for approximately five years providing assessment and lunch buddy mentoring for elementary school children who are potential victims of peer harassment (bullying). The Peer Safety Project (PSP) was implemented in 2004 at four elementary schools and expanded to two additional elementary schools in the Springdale School District in 2007.
OCAR worked with Ozark Guidance, an area comprehensive mental health agency, for approximately seven years providing independent evaluation of social service and mental health intervention programs in 11 different elementary schools in Northwest Arkansas. Our partnership began in 2002 and consisted of three projects that are now in the self-sustainability phase.
Future programs that OCAR is developing will address the needs of children who are exposed to violence and reducing risk behavior by promoting positive youth development. Intervention and evaluation systems are currently being identified for this program.
Independent evaluation services provided by OCAR include:
• Consultation on the data collection design
• Suggestions for assessment measurement tools
• Data entry excel sheets for project personnel to collect and enter data
• Statistical design and SAS code upon receipt of research questions from contracting agency
• Annual report to assess the effectiveness of the program (statistical analysis)
• Recommendations for modifications needed in the program model
For additional information on programs OCAR provides or if you are interested in implementing one of our current programs or contracting with OCAR for an independent evaluation of your program, please contact Dr. Rebecca Newgent at firstname.lastname@example.org or 479-575-5593.