Evaluation of Violence Prevention Approaches Among Early Adolescents: Moderating Effects of Disability Status and Gender
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High prevalence rates of aggression during adolescence and associated adjustment difficulties for perpetrators and victims highlight the need for effective violence prevention programs. School-based prevention programs are advantageous as they occur in a key setting for youths' social and emotional development. The current study compared the efficacy of a combined universal violence prevention approach that included individual-level skill-building (i.e., lessons from Second Step) and school environment (i.e., Olweus Bullying Prevention Program; OBPP) interventions to OBPP alone. Participants were 231 sixth, seventh, and eighth graders (ages 11–15; M = 12.6, SD = 1.0) in middle school (48 % male, 67 % African American). A total of 14 classrooms were randomly assigned to the combined intervention (seven) or OBPP only comparison (seven) condition, split evenly across grades. Intervention effects were moderated by disability status and gender. Among students without disabilities those who received the combined intervention reported greater increases in anger regulation coping skills than those in the comparison condition. In contrast, among youth with disabilities greater increases in teacher-rated social skills were found for students in the combined intervention than students in the comparison condition at posttest. Gender-moderated effects included greater decreases in teacher ratings of externalizing problems and bullying behaviors for boys in the combined intervention versus the comparison condition at posttest. Study results inform school-based violence prevention programs and are discussed along with implications.
KeywordsViolence prevention Aggression Early adolescents Middle school
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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