Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 119-144

First online:

Evaluating a Psychosocial Competence Program for Urban Adolescents

  • Todd C. O'HearnAffiliated withYale University Email author 
  • , Margaret GatzAffiliated with

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This study evaluated a primary prevention program called Going for the Goal [GOAL], designed by Danish and colleagues to teach life skills to at-risk urban adolescents. The 10-week program was administered to 350 middle school students by 55 trained high school leaders in a predominantly Hispanic school district. The program focused on setting positive, reachable goals, anticipating and responding to barriers to goal attainment, using social support, and building on one's strengths. Participants were randomly assigned to treatment or waiting-list control group conditions. Results demonstrated gains in knowledge of the skills being taught as well as attainment of goals set during the program. Leaders also showed an increase in their knowledge of life skills. The approach maximized both community resources and ecological validity while giving high school leaders the chance to benefit in their role as helpers.

primary prevention life skills training psychoeducational Hispanic students educational pyramid goal setting