Violence Prevention: An Evaluation of Program Effects with Urban African American Students

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While many violence prevention programs have been developed to combat the problems of violence and aggression among youth, few programs have been evaluated. This study examines the impact of a violence prevention program among African American students in two inner-city schools in Chicago. Students in 5th through 8th grade participated in Second Step: A Violence Prevention Program, and completed surveys at pretest and posttest. Aggressive behavior and prosocial behavior were assessed through self-report, peer-report, and teacher-report. In addition, knowledge and skills related to violence, empathy, impulsivity, and sense of school membership were assessed. The findings revealed significant increases in self-reported knowledge and skills, self-reported empathy, and teacher-reported prosocial behavior. Increases in empathy significantly predicted less aggressive behavior. School setting influenced several outcomes, including sense of school membership. Implications for primary prevention and evaluation are discussed with a focus on the importance of context.

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