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

  • Joseph A. DurlakEmail author
  • Roger P. Weissberg
  • Molly Pachan
Original paper


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 



This article is based on a grant from the William T. Grant Foundation (grant #2212) awarded to the first and second authors. We wish to express our appreciation to David DuBois, Mark Lipsey, Robert Granger, and Nicole Yohalem who provided helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. We offer additional thanks to Mark Lipsey and David Wilson for providing the macros used for calculating effects from each relevant outcome and conducting the statistical analyses. Finally, we wish to thank Heather Weiss and Chris Wimer from the Harvard Family Research Project who supplied copies of relevant reports that we were unable to obtain.


References marked with an asterisk indicate studies included in the meta-analysis

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Copyright information

© Society for Community Research and Action 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph A. Durlak
    • 1
    Email author
  • Roger P. Weissberg
    • 2
  • Molly Pachan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at Chicago & Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)ChicagoUSA

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