The Prevention of Violence in Schools in Cameroon

Ezeogu Simone Thierry1, Konfo Tcholong Clémence Idriss, PhD2

1 Msc in psycriminology and psychotraumatology; Professional Member of ISSUP and National Trainer of Trainers on Substance Use Prevention and Treatment

2 Ph.D in Psychopathology and clinical psychology

The following research work was presented at the 14th EUSPR Conference, which took place in Sarajevo in 2023.

In Cameroon, violence in schools has reached a worrying level in recent years. Increasingly constant and deadly, it has become a daily occurrence in virtually all schools. Faced with the scale of this situation, the entire educational community in particular, and all Cameroonians in general, are committed to combating violence in schools. To this end, many platforms like ASBEC (“Association Santé et Bien-être”) are committed to preventing such violence. Based on interventions rooted in the theoretical foundations of multisystemic therapy, we act on the determinants of violence in schools in order to reduce the prevalence of violence in schools. Our approach involves several stages. Assessment enables us to understand the relationship between violence and its overall systemic context. Preventive measures involving the teenager and the members of his or her system focus on the positive aspects of the teenager’s life. Interaction with these different people helps to encourage responsible behaviour and reduce irresponsible behaviour among all those involved. Prevention is geared towards the problems within each system, as well as the interaction between systems. With this approach, we are working towards the primary and secondary prevention of violence in schools in the Cameroonian context.

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The moderating effect of family and community protective factors on the relationship between family and community risk factors and adolescent alcohol and marijuana use

Katarina Serdar1 & Martina Ferić1

1Laboratory for prevention research (PrevLab), Department of Behavioural Disorders, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb

The following research work was presented as a poster at the 14th EUSPR Conference, which took place in Sarajevo in 2023.

The aim of this poster is to present a doctoral thesis on “The moderating effect of family and community protective factors on the relationship between family and community risk factors and adolescent alcohol and marijuana use.” The purpose of this work is to provide insights into how family and community protective factors modify the relationship between family and community risk factors and adolescent alcohol and marijuana use. The theoretical starting points of the work are the social development strategy and the concept of risk and protective factors. Although there are a number of studies that demonstrate the influence of risk and protective factors in the family and community on adolescent alcohol and marijuana use, there are almost no studies that have examined the moderating effect of protective factors in the family and community on the relationship between risk factors in the family and community and adolescent alcohol and marijuana use. There are no such studies in Croatia. Therefore, the study of the moderating effect of family and community protective factors on the relationship between family and community risk factors and adolescent alcohol and marijuana use represents the scientific contribution of this dissertation.

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The role of compulsive social media use and distraction in adolescent daily social media use

Lucija Šutić1, Miranda Novak, PhD1, Josipa Mihić, PhD1, Darko Roviš, PhD2

1 Laboratory for Prevention Research, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb

2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka, and Teaching Public Health Institute of Primorsko-goranska county

The following research work was presented at the 14th EUSPR Conference, which took place in Sarajevo in 2023. It was part of the presentation of the project titled ‘Testing the 5C model of positive youth development – traditional and digital mobile assessment, UIP – 2020 – 02 – 2852,’ funded by the Croatian Science Foundation and highlighted in the session titled ‘The potential of the 5C model of positive youth development in planning prevention strategies.

Compulsive social media use, defined as the inability to control consumption of social media content, appears to be related to problematic learning outcomes, social media fatigue, and higher levels of depression and anxiety. When it comes to daily life, studies suggest that self-control failure, i.e., inability to suppress automatic behavioural tendencies, is positively associated with social media use in most adolescents (Siebers et al., 2021). Daily life methods, such as an ambulatory assessment, involve multiple assessments per day over an extended period of time. Due to the nature of data collection, daily life methods maximise ecological validity, minimise recall bias, and allow researchers to examine between-person and within-person associations. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to examine whether compulsive social media use at the between-person level and distraction at both the between-person and within-person levels predict objectively measured daily social media use.

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From prediction to risk assessment: What’s new in suicide prevention.

In this blog, Claudia García-Martínez, psychologist and PhD student in Psychology at the University of Zaragoza (Spain) discusses the role of social media in developing new approaches for suicide prevention.

Suicide has been defined as a global health priority by World Health Organization (2014). And it is not for less: it causes over 700,000 deaths every year in the world and is the fourth leading cause of death in young people aged 15-29 years. The reduction of suicide mortality is a global target and is included as an indicator in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)1.

In some way, stigma and taboo have possibly hampered a greater development of prevention strategies for decades. Now we are talking more and more about suicide and therefore, we are seeing new prevention approaches that hopefully will lead to a better prevention and intervention programs.

Until a few decades ago, research efforts have been focused on curbing suicide deaths by trying to predict their occurrence. But suicide deaths are statistically a rare event. So it has been really complex to develop sensitive tools with sufficient predictive value. Continue reading

  1. World Health Organisation. Fact sheets: Suicide. June 17, 2021. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/suicide []

Social and emotional learning programs for children are now online – is it the next era upon us? A True Story

In this blog, Hala Najm, health promotion and adolescent health expert and senior programs associate at Mentor Arabia Foundation reflects and shares lessons learned from the experience of moving social and emotional learning programs to online platforms with children in Lebanon.

Growing up in a highly connected world, the internet has become a natural part of children’s day to day lives around the globe. It is a means that, especially during the pandemic, has helped us all socialize and stay connected. In fact, the pandemic has fuelled this digital age which seems to be the new trend. Working from home, online learning, virtual coffee breaks, happy hours, birthday events and weddings became a big hit and the new norm.

In Lebanon, working remotely was the solution to many challenges that the country was facing. Starting with civil unrest and ongoing protests; the devaluation of the local currency leading to an economic crash; the pandemic which led to the closure of many businesses; and the cherry on top was Beirut Blast, in 2020, the third-largest non-nuclear explosion in history, which left more than 200 dead and 10,000+ injured. Amid this ongoing humanitarian crisis, the mental health and wellbeing of adults as well as children and youth is greatly affected. Psychosocial support (PSS) programs are the cornerstone to help maintain a resilient generation as they pass through difficulties and overcame traumatic events1. Continue reading

  1. UNICEF. (2019). Mental health and psychosocial technical note. New York. []

Keeping in touch despite COVID-19: How did we feel each other’s presence all along?

In this two-part blog, Nathan Beltrand (BRAPEP) and Samuel Tomczyk (EUSPR) share their thoughts and thoughts of esteemed colleagues on communication via digital media and invite you to participate and build a strong foundation for future communication with early career preventionists.

As early career researchers in the EUSPR and BRAPEP, we are interested in fostering collaboration, exchanging ideas and experiences, and learning together for the betterment of global prevention efforts. Networking events like annual conferences are instrumental to this goal. However, it requires effort to support and sustain, which is why we decided to go online – due to the pandemic. We then noticed changes in the way we communicate using digital media, but there is still a long road ahead. 

Part 1

Is presence something inherently physical – or does the feeling of presence transcend the physical sensation? Continue reading

Harm Reduction in Schools. Why Not?

In this article, Jose López-Guerrero and Claudio Vidal Giné from ABD – Energy Control (Spain) provide their opinions on harm reduction programmes within the school setting. 

It seems like a century ago, but the last Harm Reduction International Conference, held in Porto in April 2019, welcomed the words of Michelle Bachelet, the current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Chile. In her speech [1], she listed in a convincing way the benefits of drug policies framed within a well-being and health-oriented harm reduction perspective regarding people who use drugs. Opioid substitution treatment, syringe exchange programmes or drug consumption rooms have shown their effectiveness and usefulness where they have been applied and well-funded. However, harm reduction adapted to educational contexts is far from the implementation and recognition shown by previous schemes. Continue reading

The public health impact of Covid-19 beyond infection

In this article, Professor Maria Rosaria Galanti from Karolinska Institute provides her opinion on the adverse consequences of Covid-19. 

Everyone knows what a pandemic is, but few of us have been witnessing one like that caused by the SARS -COV-2 virus.

Unprecedented because of the virus: elusive, devastating, a multifaceted killer when it kills. With many “perhaps” in its natural history: “perhaps” eliciting humoral immunity; “perhaps” transmitted only through airways emissions; “perhaps” infecting only during the early symptomatic stage… Continue reading

A European prevention registry? Xchange: the story of a fruitful EMCDDA & EUSPR collaboration

In this blog article, Charlotte De Kock, researcher at Ghent University (Belgium) and member of the Xchange Prevention Registry is presenting the story of this unique European registry of evidence-based prevention interventions.

It’s been two years now since I’m involved in the development and maintenance of the Xchange prevention registry. This experience enabled me to work with a team of people who have decades of experience and expertise in drug prevention. But what is the Xchange prevention registry exactly, and what did we realise in these last couple of years?

What is Xchange?

The European Xchange Prevention Registry was officially established in 2017. Xchange is an online registry of European, evidence-based prevention interventions. It is updated approximately twice a year with new programmes and feedback from implementers (schools, public health institutes, etc.). Continue reading

Volunteer and healthy ageing: the case of mentoring disadvantaged youth

In this blog, Dr. Giovanni Aresi and Dr. Raven H. Weaver will discuss the societal benefits of volunteering among older adults, specifically reflecting on being a mentor for disadvantaged youth. Although mentoring has been considered as a positive youth development intervention, there has been much less attention on the effects on older volunteer mentors’ well-being.

Healthy ageing as a key priority for our society

Individuals are living longer than ever before, posing a challenge in respect of increased risk of developing physical and mental illness, but also creating new opportunities for older adults to remain socially engaged with and contribute to society. The WHO defines healthy ageing as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age”.1 Having the capacity to remain engaged allows for lifelong learning, growth, agency/decision-making, and development of relationships – all of which contribute to society. Continue reading

  1. World Health Organization. Ageing and life-course. Available from: https://www.who.int/ageing/healthy-ageing/en/. []