Center for Body Image Research and Policy

Active Projects

The National Center for Rural Mental Health (2019-Present)

To Learn More Email Wendy Reinke

The National Center for Rural School Mental Health (NCRSMH) is an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funded project that includes the states of Missouri, Virginia, and Montana and the overall aim of the study is to identify, prevent, and intervene in rural youth mental health concerns. Due to the scarcity of resources and geographic isolation of rural areas, it is particularly important to address the mental health for these youth and their families.

NCRSMH’s Purpose:


In partnership with rural schools, NCRSMH will develop a comprehensive set of teacher and student surveys, tools, interventions, and professional development materials to help identify, prevent, and intervene in mental health concerns among students.

In particular, the NCRSMH project will validate and enhance the Early Identification System (EIS) which includes:

  • an online youth mental health risk screening tool
  • a dashboard system for schools to review and use the data to select evidence-based interventions (EBIs) matched to each problem area identified by the screener
  • outcome and fidelity monitoring tools

Teacher Stress and Coping (2019-Present)

The Evaluation of a Stress Management Training for Teachers Study examines the effects of an individual coping skills program for teachers. The intervention consists of one group training and three online trainings. The project efficacy is evaluated through pre-post self-report surveys and classroom observations.

In addition to supporting individual coping, the Missouri Prevention Science Institute (MPSI) team completed interviews with teachers who participated in a state-wide walkout. The study examines perceptions of sources of stress, support, and the experience of the walkout. A team of graduate students is currently completing a qualitative analysis to summarize main themes and findings.

To Learn More Email Colleen Eddy

Step: Supporting Teachers in Engaging Parents (2019-Present) 

Supporting Teachers in Engaging Parents (STEP) is currently supported by an early career research award from the Society for the Study of School Psychology (SSSP) and a University of Missouri Research Council grant. STEP is a teacher training curriculum and coaching model focused on preparing teachers to effectively engage and collaborate with families.

STEP Purpose:

To develop, refine, and test the STEP model using an iterative process. This will be done via focus groups and interviews with parents, teachers, and researchers, followed by pilot testing of the STEP model in elementary schools.

To Learn More Email Tyler Smith

DISCO: Teacher Classroom Management Training (2018-Present)

The Discipline in the Secondary Classroom (DiSCO) project is an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funded randomized controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of Discipline in the Secondary Classroom (DSC).  DSC is a classroom management program that provides tools and strategies to help high school teachers establish: 

  • proactive nonpunitive discipline policies
  • manage student behavior
  • foster student motivation
  • create a positive and productive classroom

The study takes place in Missouri and California schools. Data is collected from both teachers and students three times a year through surveys, standardized testing, and direct classroom observations. 

To Learn More Email Carolyn Conway

ECP: Culturally Responsive Practices (2018-Present)

To Learn More Email David Aguayo

Exploring Cultural Practices (ECP) is an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funded, multilevel project studying the indicators of culturally responsive practices (CRPs) in classrooms within school districts in Missouri and Maryland. The global objective of this study is to use exploratory, theory-driven data to address educational disparities among students of marginalized cultural, racial, or ethnic backgrounds.

The ECP project aims to confirm and refine indicators of CRPs via:

  • focus groups
  • teacher and student surveys
  • direct observation tools

The overall goal of the ECP project is to develop, refine, and evaluate a theory of change linking these malleable indicators of CRPs with student academic and behavioral outcomes.

Start: Principle Training and School Climate (2017-Present)

The Principal and School Climate project is a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funded study in participating schools across the state of Oklahoma investigating the efficacy of Safe and Civil School Leadership (SCSL) with an additional program called START on Time. START on Time is a training program for school principals teaching them skills to foster a safe and positive learning environment for students. This training program consists of student supports as well as resources for principals to use efficacious and data-driven discipline with students. Although first developed over a decade ago, there have been no evidence-based studies investigating the central role principals play within school environments.

To Learn More Email Marcus Petree

Mental Health Stigma Reduction: Look Around Boone (2016-Present)

To Learn More Email Aaron Thompson

The Look Around Boone (LAB) campaign is a community-wide participatory effort to create a social messaging brand with the goal of reducing stigma and increasing awareness and help-seeking for mental health-related concerns among Boone County youth and families.  Based on a community health assessment developed utilizing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships Model, the county’s 2014–2018 community health improvement plan identified youth behavioral health as a top priority and the LAB campaign emerged as a key strategy.

The LAB campaign content was developed in partnership with leaders from schools, community mental health providers, public health officials, researchers and college students. Later, as the content was rolled into the community, the LAB messaging was promoted through school-based programs and community efforts.


  • posters
  • art contests
  • counseling curricula
  • written communications with educators and parents/caregivers

Community Efforts:

  • social media
  • movie theater previews

STARS: Self-Monitoring Training Program for Students (2015-Present)/SMARTS (2020-Present)


Self-Monitoring Training and Regulation Strategy (STARS) is an Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) funded study investigating the STARS intervention with fifth grade students who exhibit disruptive classroom behaviors. Students in this intervention complete a nine-lesson curriculum with the school guidance counselor and take part in a period of self-monitoring targeting specific disruptive behaviors.

The goal of this study is to see whether this intervention can improve student behavior, social and emotional learning skills, and academic performance. The program targets students’:

  • social-awareness
  • self-awareness
  • self-management
  • relationship
  • problem-solving skills

Taking place in Columbia Public Schools, STARS is measured against an existing successful behavior intervention called Check In Check Out.

To Learn More Email Toby Mills


An extension to this study was funded in 2019 following-up on the students who participated in the STARS intervention who are now in 7th or 9th  grades. The primary goal of this extension is to examine the long-term impact of the STARS intervention on student social, emotional, and behavioral functioning. By conducting interviews and behavioral observations, this goal is furthered by examining differences in all original study outcomes, for instance, academics, changes in autonomy, and engagement. Additionally, this follow-up includes other developmental risk factor questions that are of concern as youth grow into adolescent and teens such as violence and aggression, use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs

Boone County School Mental Health Coalition (2015-Present)

To Learn More Email Wendy Reinke

The Boone County Schools Mental Health Coalition (BCSMHC) is a multidisciplinary collaborative study, funded by the Boone County Children’s Services Fund. It is conducted among Boone County’s six independent school districts, several private schools, and the Missouri Prevention Science Institute (MPSI) at the University of Missouri. Funded by Boone County tax, BCSMHC provides a comprehensive system for school-based mental health services including identification, prevention, and intervention.

BSCMHC’s  overall goal:

The implementation of a county-wide assessment system to gather data on risk factors that are predictive of poor school, mental health, and life outcomes, and using these data to guide the implementation of evidence-based prevention and intervention efforts. In addition to this, BCSMHC provides professional development to school personnel in practices that are shown to improve school climate and student outcomes.

FACE: Family Access Center of Excellence (2016-Present)

Family Access Center of Excellence (FACE) is a center, funded by the Boone County Children’s Services Fund, providing free access to mental health services for families with children from 0–19 years old for the residents of Boone County. The overall goal is to enhance the quality of social, emotional, and behavioral health services for youth and their immediate family. FACE implements quality assessments, non-conflict case management, and community-based referrals to identify and meet the needs of families. 

To Learn More Email Aaron Thompson