School-based prevention programs for aggressive and disruptive behavior

Program basics

  • 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

Target population

All school-aged children

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Meta-analysis of seventy-seven studies found a 25 percent reduction in aggressive or disruptive behavior in students
  • Cost-benefit analysis estimates $14,426 in total social cost savings per participant (2003)

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • In lower grades, programs should focus on disruptive and anti-social behavior and use a cognitive-affective approach.
  • In higher grades, focus should shift to specific forms of violence (like bullying and dating) and interventions should rely on greater social skills training.
  • Programs should be universal and part of school curriculum for all students.
  • Interventions often benefit from multi-approach methods that involve parents, peers, and/or community members.

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