Effectiveness of universal school-based programs for prevention of violence in adolescents
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Objective: Violence is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality amongst young people. Primary preventive programs aimed at reducing the involvement of young people in violence are often implemented in a school setting. This systematic review evaluated the effectiveness of universal school-based programs aimed at the primary prevention of violence in 11-18 year olds. Method: A pre-defined search strategy was used to search various sources (i.e. databases, gray literature, previous reviews, and reference lists of included studies) for randomised design trials and quasi-experimental design trials published between 2002 and March 2014. After screening 8051 abstracts, 21 studies were identified that satisfied the inclusion/exclusion criteria. These studies evaluated 16 different programs based mainly in the US. Results: Due to the heterogeneity meta-analysis was not possible; thus a narrative synthesis was reported. The most effective interventions utilised social development and social norms components. Attitudes towards violence was the most frequently measured outcome with six studies reporting a beneficial effect and two reporting no effect; three of the six studies examining violent behaviour demonstrated a small beneficial effect; and four of the seven studies examining physical aggression demonstrated a small beneficial effect. Conclusions: In general, this review found limited evidence of the effectiveness of universal school-based programs in the primary prevention of violence in 11-18 year olds; however, those that combined social development and social norms approaches appeared to be the most effective. Additional qualitative research/process evaluation is required to establish the processes that underpin the success/failure of such programs in order to inform their refinement, and the future development of effective programs.
Gavine , A J , Donnelly , P D & Williams , D J 2016 , ' Effectiveness of universal school-based programs for prevention of violence in adolescents ' , Psychology of Violence , vol. 6 , no. 3 , pp. 390-399 . https://doi.org/10.1037/vio0000052
Psychology of Violence
© 2016, Publisher / the Author(s). This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at psycnet.apa.org
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