Original paper

American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 294-309

First online:

A Meta-Analysis of After-School Programs That Seek to Promote Personal and Social Skills in Children and Adolescents

  • Joseph A. DurlakAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Loyola University Chicago Email author 
  • , Roger P. WeissbergAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago & Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
  • , Molly PachanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Loyola University Chicago

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A meta-analysis of after-school programs that seek to enhance the personal and social skills of children and adolescents indicated that, compared to controls, participants demonstrated significant increases in their self-perceptions and bonding to school, positive social behaviors, school grades and levels of academic achievement, and significant reductions in problem behaviors. The presence of four recommended practices associated with previously effective skill training (SAFE: sequenced, active, focused, and explicit) moderated several program outcomes. One important implication of current findings is that ASPs should contain components to foster the personal and social skills of youth because youth can benefit in multiple ways if these components are offered. The second implication is that further research is warranted on identifying program characteristics that can help us understand why some programs are more successful than others.


After-school Meta-analysis Social competence Social skills Youth development