Prevention Science

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 43-56

First online:

Implementation and Evaluation of a Cognitive–Behavioral Intervention to Prevent Problem Behavior in a Disorganized School

  • Gary D. GottfredsonAffiliated withGottfredson Associates, Inc.
  • , Elizabeth M. JonesAffiliated withGottfredson Associates, Inc.
  • , Thomas W. GoreAffiliated withAssociates for Renewal in Education, Inc.

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We assessed the effectiveness of two realizations of cognitive–behavioral instruction in an inner-city middle school with high rates of absenteeism, low staff morale, and chronic low academic achievement. Implementation measures showed that 68% of intended instruction was delivered in the first realization. Self-report measures showed improved school conduct, less victimization in school, and more positive peer associations for the treatment group than for the comparison group at the end of the school year. Treatment students were less likely to leave the school than were comparison students, but were more often absent and tardy. Implementation was poorer in the second realization, and there were no treatment–comparison differences on self-reports or teacher ratings, but treatment students less often left the school. Difficulties in conducting instruction in difficult settings may limit the effectiveness of otherwise efficacious interventions. Specific intervention programs may offer minimal benefits if more basic school improvements are not achieved.

behavior problems peer relations social skills at risk populations adolescents