U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Effects of the Second Step Program in Middle School on Violence, Victimization, and Substance Use in High School

NCJ Number
252780
Date Published
Agencies
NIJ
Publication Type
Research (Applied/Empirical), Report (Study/Research), Report (Grant Sponsored), Program/Project Evaluation, Program/Project Description
Grant Number(s)
2013-VA-CX-0008
Annotation
Second Step, a school-based program aimed at reducing violence and encouraging academic success among middle school students, is examined for its effects on participants in their high-school years.
Abstract
Second Step is a social-emotional learning program that teaches social and emotional skills that facilitate emotion recognition and management, empathy, problemsolving, bullying prevention, and goal-setting. Existing research has shown that Second Step has reduced physical aggression in middle-school participants within a 1-year span. It has been rated effective in multiple studies. The current study examined the effect of participation in the program during middle school on a range of aggressive behaviors during participants' high-school years. Researchers also examined how connected students felt about their school, peers, and teachers ("school belonging"). Overall, this longitudinal study indicated that Second Step did not have a direct impact on outcomes during the high school years regarding bullying, sexual harassment, homophobic teasing, cyber bullying, teen dating violence, and substance use; however, the study showed that Second Step participants did improve students' sense of belonging across the middle-school years. This sense of belonging in middle school did apparently lower rates of some negative outcomes in high school, specifically bullying perpetration and victimization; being a victim of sexual harassment; perpetration and victimization of homophobic-teasing; and cyberbullying victimization. Thus, the distinction is made between the direct and indirect impact of Second Step after middle school students transitioned to high school. This was a seven-wave longitudinal study that included 1,565 students (males, 52 percent; White, 22 percent; African-American, 31 percent; Hispanic, 33 percent; and biracial, 11 percent). Fifteen Illinois schools participated.
Date Created: August 28, 2019