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Effectiveness of School-Based Violence Prevention Programs for Reducing Disruptive and Aggressive Behavior

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2005
48 pages
This report presents the results of a meta-analysis of 219 research studies on the effectiveness of school-based programs for preventing or reducing aggressive behavior.
Most of these studies were initiated primarily for research or demonstration purposes, which involve a high level of researcher involvement from the outset. The literature emphasized programs for elementary and middle school students. All selected studies used an experimental or quasi-experimental design that compared students exposed to one or more identifiable interventions with one or more control or comparison conditions on at least one qualifying outcome variable. The programs were placed in four broad categories: universal programs, which were delivered in classroom settings to the entire classroom; selected/indicated programs, which were delivered to students selected especially to receive treatment due to some risk factors; special schools or classes that involve children with some behavioral or school difficulty; and comprehensive/multimodal programs, which involved parents and school staff as well as students and addressed school capacity-building. Programs with few or no implementation difficulties or with greater duration or frequency tended to produce larger reductions in aggressive behavior. Outcomes for different treatment modalities within the universal and selected/indicated formats (e.g., social-skills training, cognitively oriented programs, behavioral programs, and counseling) were not significantly different; the modalities were equally effective in reducing aggressive behavior. Generally, larger program effects were achieved with relatively higher risk students. School violence programs were generally effective in reducing the more common types of aggressive behavior in schools, including fighting, name-calling, and intimidation; however, it remains to be determined whether such programs prevent rare, but serious school violence perpetrated by severely disturbed youth. 11 tables, 3 figures, and a 13-item bibliography

Date Published: May 1, 2005