School-based prevention programs for aggressive children improve behavior

Aggressive behavior in children and teenagers is a serious problem, and having violent behavior early in life is strongly associated with injury, later criminal conduct and poorer health as an adult.

A Cochrane Systematic Review that draws data from more than fifty different trials shows that delivering programmes in schools that specifically target at-risk pupils, can have real benefits.

Intervention strategies that aim to reduce violent behavior in school children can either address a whole school or class, or alternatively target the children who already have threatening or aggressive behavior – an approach known as 'secondary prevention'.

A team of Cochrane Review Authors assessed the evidence for the effectiveness of school-based secondary prevention programs. They found that interventions designed to improve relationship or social skills appear to be the most beneficial. Interventions designed to teach students not to respond to provocative situations could also produce benefits.

"Among the most useful programs were those that taught children how to get on better with other people. These included teaching skills such as listening, thinking about the feelings of others, working co-operatively, and learning how to be assertive without being aggressive." says lead Review Author Dr Julie Mytton a Public Health Doctor based at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK.

The programs were equally effective in both older and younger children, and in both boys-only groups and mixed sex groups.

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Notes for editors

1. Review Paper: Mytton J. et. al: School-based secondary prevention programmes for preventing violence. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD004606.

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ª Jadad AR, Cook DJ, Jones A, Klassen TP, Tugwell P, Moher M, et al. Methodology and reports of systematic Reviews and meta-analysies: a comparison of Cochrane Reviews with articles published in paper-based journal.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

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