Baylor University Scholar’s Risk Reduction Inntervention Aims to Help Young Women in the Juvenile Justice System

Danielle Parrish, a professor in the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University, is conducting research to study the efficacy of risk reduction intervention efforts for young women ages 14 to 17 in the juvenile justice system.

Dr. Parrish will work with young women in community settings referred by the Harris County Juvenile Justice Probation Department. The project’s main focus is on reducing health behaviors associated with the risk of substance-exposed pregnancy, which includes marijuana-exposed pregnancy and alcohol-exposed pregnancy. Young women involved in the juvenile justice system are 3.5 times more likely to have a child compared to non-delinquent youth and 30 percent have been pregnant one or more times. Additionally, this population experiences higher rates of marijuana and alcohol use than their non-justice involved peers as well as high rates of sexually transmitted infections.

The CHOICES-TEEN program involves four intervention sessions provided by a master’s level clinician and a medical doctor specializing in adolescent care, both trained in motivational interviewing. The first session is provided in person, while the subsequent sessions are delivered in a telehealth capacity, accompanied by a mobile health app.

“With this particular intervention — in addition to looking at multiple health risk behaviors at once — we will add a hybrid telehealth aspect to the intervention, which I think can have some major implications for learning about increasing the feasibility of service delivery for a population that might be typically inaccessible because of transportation or living in a rural area,” Dr/ Parrish said. “Our short-term goals will be to look at the outcomes of the intervention to see if it’s efficacious.”

Professor Parrish serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Social Work Education. She joined the Baylor University faculty in 2018 after teaching for nine years at the University of Houston. Dr. Parrish holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master of social work degree from California State University, Freno. She earned a Ph.D. in social work at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Parrish’s research is funded by a five-year, $3.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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