School-based prevention programs for aggressive and disruptive behavior
- Classroom-based instructional programs focused on ways to reduce violent, aggressive, and disruptive behavior
- Delivered in general classroom settings, rather than to specific at-risk students
- Instructional methods include cognitively oriented strategies, social skills training, behavioral strategies, counseling, anger management training, and social problem-solving skills
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)
Proven (highest tier)
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by the National Institute of Justice
All school-aged children
Outcomes and impact
- Meta-analysis of seventy-seven studies found a 25 percent reduction in aggressive or disruptive behavior in students
- One cost-benefit analysis estimates $14,426 in total social cost savings per participant (2003)
- Studies report that prevention programs are successful in not only reducing violent behavior, but reducing drug abuse, delinquency, and increasing school attendance and engagement
Keys to successful implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- Implement programs that are shorter and more intensive; these models are more effective than longer-term, lower-intensity programs.
- Implement programs as early as kindergarten and second grade; early intervention shows effective and lasting improvement in aggressive behavior.
- Implement universal programs that are incorporated into the entire school’s curriculum.
- Focus on increasing positive skills in addition to discouraging aggressive behavior; acknowledging and rewarding children for practicing positive skills is key to long-term adjustment and resilience.
- For lower grades, focus on disruptive and antisocial behavior and use a cognitive-affective approach. For higher grades, focus on specific forms of violence (like bullying and dating violence) and incorporate greater social skills training.
- Involve parents, peers, and/or community members while implementing the intervention program.