Prevention Science

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 403–408 | Cite as

Preventing Youth Violence and Delinquency through a Universal School-Based Prevention Approach

  • Gilbert J. Botvin
  • Kenneth W. Griffin
  • Tracy Diaz Nichols
Brief Report

Abstract

Violence is an important public health problem among adolescents in the United States. Substance use and violence tend to co-occur among adolescents and appear to have similar etiologies. The present study examined the extent to which a comprehensive prevention approach targeting an array of individual-level risk and protective factors and previously found effective in preventing tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use is capable of decreasing violence and delinquency. Schools (N=41) were randomly assigned to intervention and control conditions. Participants in the 20 intervention schools received the Life Skills Training prevention program including material focusing on violence and the media, anger management, and conflict resolution skills. Survey data were collected from 4,858 sixth grade students prior to the intervention and three months later after the intervention. Findings showed significant reductions in violence and delinquency for intervention participants relative to controls. Stronger prevention effects were found for students who received at least half of the preventive intervention. These effects include less verbal and physical aggression, fighting, and delinquency. The results of this study indicate that a school-based prevention approach previously found to prevent tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use can also prevent violence and delinquency.

Keywords:

Adolescence Violence Aggression Prevention Substance use 

References

  1. Arthur, M. W., Hawkins, J. D., Pollard, J. A., Catalano, R. F., & Baglioni, A. J. (2002). Measuring risk and protective factors for substance use, delinquency, and other adolescent problem behaviors: The Communities That Care Youth Survey. Evaluation Review, 26, 575–601.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Biglan, A., & Cody, C. (2003). Preventing multiple problem behaviors in adolescence. In D. Romer (Ed.), Reducing adolescent risk: Toward an integrated approach (pp. 125–131). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Botvin, G. J. (2000). Preventing drug abuse in schools: Social and competence enhancement approaches targeting individual-level etiological factors. Addictive Behaviors, 25, 887–897.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Botvin, G. J., Baker, E., Dusenbury, L., Botvin, E. M., & Diaz, T. (1995). Long-term follow-up results of a randomized drug abuse prevention trial in a White middle-class population. Journal of the American Medical Association, 273, 1106–1112.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Botvin, G. J., & Griffin, K. W. (2003). Drug abuse prevention curricula in schools. In Z. Sloboda & W. J. Bukoski (Eds.), Handbook of drug abuse prevention: Theory, science, and practice (pp. 45–74). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.Google Scholar
  6. Botvin, G. J., Griffin, K. W., Diaz, T., & Ifill-Williams, M. (2001). Drug abuse prevention among minority adolescents: One-year follow-up of a school-based preventive intervention. Prevention Science, 2, 1–13.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2006). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2005. Surveillance Summaries, June 9, 2006. MMWR, 55 (No. SS–5).Google Scholar
  8. Elliott, D. S., Huizinga, D., & Menard, S. (1989). Multiple problem youth: Delinquency, substance use, and mental health problems. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  9. Elliot, D. S., Huizinga, D., & Ageton, S. S. (1985). Risk and protective factors for alcohol and other drug problems in adolescence and early adulthood: Implications for substance abuse prevention. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 64–105.Google Scholar
  10. Farrell, A. D., Danish, S. J., & Howard, C. W. (1992). Relationship between drug use and other problem behaviors in urban adolescents. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 60, 705– 712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Flay, B. (2002). Positive youth development requires comprehensive health promotion programs. American Journal of Health Behavior, 26, 407–424.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Flay, B., & Petraitis, J. (1994). The theory of triadic influence: a new theory of health behavior with implications for preventive interventions. In G. L. Albrecht (Ed.), Advances in medical sociology, volume IV: A reconsideration of models of health behavior change (pp. 19–44). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  13. Garrison, C. Z., McKeown, R. E., Valois, R. F., & Vincent, M. L. (1993). Aggression, substance use, and suicidal behaviors in high school students. American Journal of Public Health, 83, 179– 184.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Griffin, K. W., Botvin, G. J., & Nichols, T. R. (2004). Long-term follow-up effects of a school-based drug abuse prevention program on adolescent risky driving. Prevention Science, 5, 207–212.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Griffin, K. W., Botvin, G. J., & Nichols, T. R. (2006). Effects of a school-based drug abuse prevention program for adolescents on HIV risk behaviors in young adulthood. Prevention Science, 7, 103–112.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Hammond, W. R., & Yung, B. (1993). Psychology’s role in the public health response to assaultive violence among young African–American men. American Psychologist, 48, 142–154.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., & Miller, J. Y. (1992). Risk and protective factors for alcohol and other drug problems in adolescence and early adulthood: Implications for substance abuse prevention. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 64–105.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Hoyert, D. L., Heron, M. P., Murphy, S. L., & Kung, H. (2006). Deaths: Final data for 2003. National Vital Statistics Report, 54, 1–120.Google Scholar
  19. Jessor, R., & Jessor, S. L. (1977). Problem behavior and psychosocial development. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  20. Lillehoj, C. J., Griffin, K. W., & Spoth, R. L. (2004). Program provider and observer ratings of school-based preventive intervention implementation: Agreement and relation to youth outcomes. Health Education & Behavior, 31, 242–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Norton, E. C., Bieler, G. S., Ennett, S. T., & Zarkin, G. A. (1996). Analysis of prevention program effectiveness with clustered data using generalized estimating equations. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 64, 919–926.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. SAS Institute (2005). SAS/STAT User’s Guide. Cary, NC: SAS Publications.Google Scholar
  23. Tardiff, K., & Gross, E. (1986). Homicide in New York City. Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 62, 413–426.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2001). Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gilbert J. Botvin
    • 1
  • Kenneth W. Griffin
    • 1
  • Tracy Diaz Nichols
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public HealthWeill Medical College of Cornell UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations