Prevention Science

, Volume 15, Supplement 1, pp 6–18 | Cite as

The Impact of the Good Behavior Game, a Universal Classroom-Based Preventive Intervention in First and Second Grades, on High-Risk Sexual Behaviors and Drug Abuse and Dependence Disorders into Young Adulthood

  • Sheppard G. KellamEmail author
  • Wei Wang
  • Amelia C. L. Mackenzie
  • C. Hendricks Brown
  • Danielle C. Ompad
  • Flora Or
  • Nicholas S. Ialongo
  • Jeanne M. Poduska
  • Amy Windham


The Good Behavior Game (GBG), a method of teacher classroom behavior management, was tested in first- and second-grade classrooms in 19 Baltimore City Public Schools beginning in the 1985–1986 school year. The intervention was directed at the classroom as a whole to socialize children to the student role and reduce aggressive, disruptive behaviors, confirmed antecedents of a profile of externalizing problem outcomes. This article reports on the GBG impact on the courses and interrelationships among aggressive, disruptive behavior through middle school, risky sexual behaviors, and drug abuse and dependence disorders through ages 19–21. In five poor to lower-middle class, mainly African American urban areas, classrooms within matched schools were assigned randomly to either the GBG intervention or the control condition. Balanced assignment of children to classrooms was made, and teachers were randomly assigned to intervention or control. Analyses involved multilevel growth mixture modeling. By young adulthood, significant GBG impact was found in terms of reduced high-risk sexual behaviors and drug abuse and dependence disorders among males who in first grade and through middle school were more aggressive, disruptive. A replication with the next cohort of first-grade children with the same teachers occurred during the following school year, but with minimal teacher mentoring and monitoring. Findings were not significant but generally in the predicted direction. A universal classroom-based prevention intervention in first- and second-grade classrooms can reduce drug abuse and dependence disorders and risky sexual behaviors.


Good Behavior Game Developmental epidemiology Universal prevention programs Classroom behavior management Drug abuse Condom use Age of sex onset Number of sexual partners High-risk sexual behaviors Mixed effects modeling 


Funding sources

During the last 27 or more years this research has been supported by NIMH Grants R01 MH 42968, P50 MH 38725, R01 MH 40859, and T32 MH018834 (with supplements from NIDA for each of the cited research grants), and NIDA grants R01 DA 019984, DA009897 and P30 DA027828.

Supplementary material

11121_2012_296_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (258 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 258 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheppard G. Kellam
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wei Wang
    • 2
  • Amelia C. L. Mackenzie
    • 3
  • C. Hendricks Brown
    • 4
  • Danielle C. Ompad
    • 5
  • Flora Or
    • 6
  • Nicholas S. Ialongo
    • 1
  • Jeanne M. Poduska
    • 7
  • Amy Windham
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Mental Health, Bloomberg School of Public HealthJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, College of Public HealthUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  3. 3.Division of Reproductive Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bloomberg School of Public HealthJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Center for Prevention Implementation Methodology, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Miller School of MedicineUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  5. 5.Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human DevelopmentNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Department of Mental Health Bloomberg School of Public HealthJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  7. 7.American Institutes for ResearchBaltimoreUSA

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