54. Rapp-Paglicci, L., Stewart, C., and Rowe, W. S. (Winter 2009). Evaluating the Effects of the Prodigy Cultural Arts Program on Symptoms of Mental Health Disorders in At-Risk and Adjudicated Youths. Best Practices in Mental Health: An International Journal, 5(1), 65-73.

Author Affiliations: School of Social Work, University of South Florida Study Published: 2009
Artforms: Cultural arts, media arts, music, performing arts, visual arts Program: Prodigy Cultural Arts Program
Program Description: The Prodigy Cultural Arts Program is a diversion program for youth aged 7-17 who have been adjudicated in the juvenile justice system, offering classes in the visual, performing, musical and media arts as an alternative to court. Programs, taught by master artists, run for eight weeks, with youth attending three hours per week. Goals are to build pro-social skills and reduce recidivism. Prodigy also has a prevention program geared to non-offending at-risk youth in the community.
Program (Study) Location: West Central Florida
Study Published: Winter 2009
Participant Type: Adjudicated male and female juvenile offenders 11-18 years Sample Size: 337
Data Type: Quasi-experimental pre and post test using MAYSI-2 (Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument), Family Assessment Device to measure symptoms of mental health disorders (subscales: anger/irritability, somatic complaints, depression/anxiety, suicidal ideations, substance use), and Delinquency Index.
Evaluation Focus: Program’s effect on participants’ mental health-disorders controlling for demographic factors

Summary of Impact:
●  Significant decrease in symptoms of mental health disorders, notably anger/irritability and anxiety/depression.
●  Changes in somatic complaints, hypothesized to be related to mental-health issues or stressful environmental conditions.
● Females, who tended to score higher pretest on depression/anxiety scores, may have experienced a greater reduction in anxiety/depression symptoms than their male counterparts.

KEYWORDS: cultural arts, delinquency, family functioning, identity, juvenile, media arts, mental health, music, performing arts, Prodigy Cultural Arts Program, visual arts, youth

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