Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 243–262 | Cite as

Effects of an Elementary School Intervention on Students' “Connectedness” to School and Social Adjustment During Middle School

  • Victor Battistich
  • Eric Schaps
  • Nance Wilson


This research examined the effects at follow-up during middle school of a comprehensive elementary-school intervention program, the Child Development Project, designed to reduce risk and promote resilience among youth. Parental consent to participate in the middle school study was obtained for 1,246 students from six program and six matched comparison elementary schools. Three of the program elementary schools were in the “high implementation” group, and three were in the “low implementation” group during the elementary school study. Findings indicated that, studywide, 40% of the outcome variables examined during middle school showed differences favoring program students, and there were no statistically reliable differences favoring comparison students. Among the “high implementation” group, 65% of the outcome variables showed differences favoring program students. Overall, program students were more engaged in and committed to school, were more prosocial and engaged in fewer problem behaviors than comparison students during middle school. Program students who experienced high implementation during elementary school also had higher academic performance, and associated with peers who were more prosocial and less antisocial than their matched comparison students during middle school. Implications of these findings for prevention programming are discussed.

caring community of learners health promotion model influence of social context on prevention 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Albee, G. W. (1996). Revolutions and counterrevolutions in prevention. American Psychologist, 51, 1130–1133.Google Scholar
  2. Bassiri, D. (1988, April). Large and small sample properties of maximum likelihood estimates for the hierarchical linear model. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.Google Scholar
  3. Battistich, V., & Hom, A. (1997). The relationships between students' sense of their school as a community and their involvement in problem behaviors. American Journal of Public Health, 87, 1997–2001.Google Scholar
  4. Battistich, V., Schaps, E., Solomon, D., & Watson, M. (1991). The role of the school in prosocial development. In H. E. Fitzgerald, B. M. Lester, & M. W. Yogman (Eds.), Theory and research in behavioral pediatrics (Vol. 5). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  5. Battistich, V., Schaps, E., Watson, M., Solomon, D., & Lewis, C. (2000). Effects of the Child Development Project on students' drug use and other problem behaviors. Journal of Primary Prevention, 21, 75–99.Google Scholar
  6. Battistich, V., Solomon, D., Watson, M., & Schaps, E. (1997). Caring school communities. Educational Psychologist, 32, 137–151.Google Scholar
  7. Brener, N. D., Simon, T. R., Krug, E. G., & Lowry, R. (1999). Recent trends in violence-related behaviors among high school students in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association, 282, 440–446.Google Scholar
  8. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American Psychologist, 32, 513–531.Google Scholar
  9. Catalano, R. F., Berglund, M. L., Ryan, J. A. M., Lonczak, H. S., & Hawkins, J. D. (1999). Positive youth development in the United States: Research findings on evaluations of the Positive Youth Development Programs. Report to the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. Available on the World Wide Web: Scholar
  10. Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. (1999). Understanding substance abuse prevention. Toward the 21st Century: A primer on effective programs (DHHS Publication No. SMA 99–3301). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  11. Cohen, J. (1977). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (Rev. ed.). (New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  12. Coie, J. D., Watt, N. F., West, S. G., Hawkins, J. D., Asarnow, J. R., Markman, H. J., et al. (1993). The science of prevention: A conceptual framework and some directions for a national research program. American Psychologist, 48, 1013–1022.Google Scholar
  13. Cowen, E. L. (1994). The enhancement of psychological wellness: Challenges and opportunities. American Journal of Community Psychology, 22, 149–179.Google Scholar
  14. Greenberg, M. T., Domitrovich, C., & Bumbarger, B. (2001). The prevention of mental disorders in school-aged children: Current state of the field. Prevention and Treatment, 4, Article 1. Available on the World Wide Web: Scholar
  15. Hawkins, J. D., & Catalano, R. F. (1990). Broadening the vision of education: Schools as health promoting environments. Journal of School Health, 60, 178–181.Google Scholar
  16. Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., Kosterman, R., Abbott, R., & Hill, K. G. (1999). Preventing adolescent health-risk behaviors by strengthening protection during childhood. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 153, 226–234.Google Scholar
  17. Hawkins, J., & Weiss, J. (1985). The social development model: An integrated approach to delinquency prevention. Journal of Primary Prevention, 6, 73–97.Google Scholar
  18. Johnston, L. D., O'Malley, P. M., & Bachman, J. G. (2001). Monitoring the future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2000. Vol. I: Secondary school students (NIH Publication No. 01–4924). Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug.Google Scholar
  19. Kendzior, S., & Dasho, S. (1996, April). A model for deep, long-term change in teachers' beliefs and practices. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  20. O'Connor, T. G., & Rutter, M. (1996). Risk mechanisms in development: Some conceptual and methodological considerations. Developmental Psychology, 32, 787–795.Google Scholar
  21. Resnick, M. D., Bearman, P. S., Blum, R. W., Bauman, K. E., Harris, K. M., Jones, J., et al. (1997). Protecting adolescents from harm: Findings from the national longitudinal study on adolescent health. Journal of the American Medical Association, 278, 823–832.Google Scholar
  22. Rubin, D. B. (1987). Multiple imputation for nonresponse in surveys. (New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  23. Schafer, J. L. (1997). Analysis of incomplete multivariate data. (London: Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
  24. Solomon, D., Battistich, V., Watson, M., Schaps, E., & Lewis, C. (2000). A six-district study of educational change: Direct and mediated effects of the Child Development Project. Social Psychology of Education, 4, 3–51.Google Scholar
  25. Sutherland, E. H., & Cressey, D. R. (1960). Principles of criminology (6th. ed.). (Philadelphia: Lippincott.Google Scholar
  26. Tolan, P. H., & Guerra, N. G. (1994). Prevention of delinquency: Current status and issues. Applied and Preventive Psychology, 3, 251–273.Google Scholar
  27. Tolan, P. H., Guerra, N. G., & Kendall, P. C. (1995). A developmental-ecological perspective on antisocial behavior in children and adolescents: Toward a unified risk and intervention framework. Special Section: Prediction and prevention of child and adolescent antisocial behavior. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63, 579–584.Google Scholar
  28. Watson, M. (1996, April). Giving content to restructuring: A social, ethical and intellectual agenda for elementary education. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  29. Watson, M., Battistich, V., & Solomon, D. (1997). Enhancing students' social and ethical development in schools: An intervention program and its effects. International Journal of Educational Research, 27, 571–586.Google Scholar
  30. Watson, M., Solomon, D., Battistich, V., Schaps, E., & Solomon, J. (1989). The Child Development Project: Combining traditional and developmental approaches to values education. In L. Nucci (Ed.), Moral development and character education: A dialogue (pp. 51–92). Berkeley, VA: McCutchan.Google Scholar
  31. Yoshikawa, H. (1994). Prevention as cumulative protection: Effects of early family support and education on chronic delinquency and its risks. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 28–54.Google Scholar
  32. Zimmerman, M. A., & Arunkumar, R. (1994). Resiliency research: Implications for schools and policy. Social Policy Report, Society for Research in Child Development, VIII(4).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor Battistich
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eric Schaps
    • 1
  • Nance Wilson
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Developmental Studies CenterOakland
  2. 2.University of MissouriSt. Louis
  3. 3.Public Health InstituteBerkeley

Personalised recommendations