Promoting Pro-Social Skills to Reduce Violence Among Urban Middle School Youth

Deb Risisky, James MacGregor, Deborah Smith, Jamie Abraham, MaryJo Archambault

Abstract


Adolescent violence is a significant public health problem. The goal of this evaluation was to determine whether communication skills, relationships with adults, and relationships with peers were enhanced through participating in an after-school program aimed at reducing violence-related behaviors among urban middle school youth. Elements that helped to foster success among our population were providing a program that enabled consistent choice in recreational activities in a safe place, and also providing busing home to increase safety. A non-experimental study was conducted with 115 students who participated in the program. Bivariate, ANOVA analysis, and Kruskal–Wallis tests were carried out. Results indicated that participating in the program significantly impacted student relationships with adults and their peers as well as positively impacted their communication skills. The program was designed with purposeful activities that would address pro-social behaviors, enhance youth interest, and increase attendance. The program specifically used recreation to help foster relationships with their peers and the adults in the program, with the intention of reducing conflict, and therefore violence among the students.


Keywords


after-school program; youth violence; recreation programs

Full Text:

PDF

References


Afterschool Alliance. (2014). America after 3pm: Afterschool Programs in Demand. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/documents/AA3PM-2014/AA3PM_National_Report.pdf

Anderson, A. R., Christenson, S. L., Sinclair, M. F., & Lehr, C. A. (2004). Check and connect: the importance of relationships for promoting engagement with school. Journal of School Psychology, 42(2), 95-113.

Barnett, L. A. (2008). Predicting youth participation in extracurricular recreational activities: Relationships with individual, parent, and family characteristics. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 26(2), 28-60.

Butcher, F., Galanek, J. D., Kretschmar, J. M., & Flannery, D. J. (2015). The impact of neighborhood disorganization on neighborhood exposure to violence, trauma symptoms, and social relationships among at-risk youth. Social Science and Medicine, 146, 300-306. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.10.013

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Youth violence: Risk and protective factors. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/riskprotectivefactors.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019a). Preventing youth violence. Retrieved from https://cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/fastfact.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019b). Preventing school violence. Retrieved from https://cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/schoolviolence/fastfact.html

Children's Safety Network. (2017). Youth violence prevention. Retrieved from http://www.childrenssafetynetwork.org/injury-topics/youth-violence-prevention

Daud, R., & Carruthers, C. (2008). Outcome study of an after-school program for youth in a high-risk environment. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 26(2), 95-114.

David-Ferdon, C., & Simon, T. R. (2014). Preventing youth violence: Opportunity for action. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dubow, E. F., Huesmann, L. R., Boxer, P., & Smith, C. (2016). Childhood and adolescent risk and protective factors for violence in adulthood. Journal of Criminal Justice, 45, 26-31. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2016.02.005

Durlak, J. A., & Weissberg, R. P. (2007). The impact of after-school programs that promote personal and social skills. Chicago, IL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. Retrieved from https://casel.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/PDF-1-the-impact-of-after-school-programs-that-promote-personal-and-social-skills-executive-summary.pdf

Eamon, M. K. (2001). The effects of poverty on children's socioemotional development: An ecological systems analysis. Social Work, 46(3), 256-266. doi:10.1093/sw/46.3.256

Eaton, D., Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S., Flint, K., Hawkins, J., . . . Wechsler, H. (2012). Youth risk behavior surveillance — United States, 2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Surveillance Summaries, 61(4), 1-162. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24806047

Eccles, J. S., & Gootman, J. A. (2002). Community programs to promote youth development. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

Fraser-Thomas, J. L., Cote, J., & Deakin, J. (2005). Youth sport programs: an avenue to foster positive youth development. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 10(1), 19-40. doi:10.1080/1740898042000334890

Goldstein, S. E., Davis-Kean, P. E., & Eccles, J. S. (2005). Parents, peers, and problem behavior: a longitudinal investigation of the impact of relationship perceptions and characteristics on the development of adolescent problem behavior. Developmental Psychology, 41(2), 401-413. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.41.2.401

Gorman-Smith, D., Tolan, P. H., Henry, D. B., & Florsheim, P. (2000). Patterns of family functioning and adolescent outcomes among urban African American and Mexican American families. Journal of Family Psychology, 14(3), 436-457.

Gottfredson, D., & Wilson, D. (2003). Characteristics of effective school-based substance use programs. Prevention Science, 4, 27-38.

Jolliffe, D., Farrington, D. P., Loeber, R., & Pardini, D. (2016). Protective factors for violence: results from the Pittsburgh Youth Study. Journal of Criminal Justice, 45, 32-40.

Kann, L., McManus, T., Harris, W., Shanklin, S., Flint, K., Hawkins, J., . . . Zaza, S. (2016). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2015. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Surveillance Summary 2016; 65(No. SS-06), 1-174. doi:10.15585/mmwr.ss6506a1

Kim, B. K. E., Gilman, A. B., Hill, K. G., & Hawkins, J. D. (2016). Examining protective factors against violence among high-risk youth: Findings from the Seattle Social Development Project. Journal of Criminal Justice, 45, 19-25. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2016.02.015

Kremer, K., Maynard, P., Polanin, B., Baughn, R., & Sarteschi, J. (2015). Effects of after-school programs with at-risk youth on attendance and externalizing behaviors: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44(3), 616-636. doi:10.1007/s10964-014-0226-4

McCabe, K. M., Lucchini, S. E., Hough, R. L., Hazen, A., & Yeh, M. (2005). The relation between violence exposure and conduct problems among adolescents: A prospective study. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 75(4), 575-584. doi:10.1037/0002-9432.75.4.575

Miller, B. M., & Surr, W. B. (2011). Survey of academic and youth outcomes-staff edition. Wellesley, MA: National Institute on Out-of-School Time. Available from https://www.niost.org/

Njapa-Minyard, P. (2010). After-school programs: attracting and sustaining youth participation. The International Journal of Learning, 17(9), 177-181.

Olsen, H., & Kowalski, C. L. (2010). Enhancing program quality and care through supervision. Afterschool Matters, 37-44. Retrieved from http://www.niost.org/images/afterschoolmatters/

asm_2010_10_spring/asm_2010_10_spring-6.pdf

Roth, J. L., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2016). Evaluating youth development programs: Progress and promise. Applied Developmental Science, 20(3), 188-202. doi:10.1080/10888691.2015.1113879

Sanderson, R. C., & Richards, M. H. (2010). The after-school needs and resources of a low-income urban community: Surveying youth and parents for community change. American Journal of Community Psychology, 45(3-4), 430-440. doi:10.1007/s10464-010-9309-x

Stein, B., Jaycox, D., Kataoka, L., Rhodes, H., & Vestal, S. (2003). Prevalence of child and adolescent exposure to community violence. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 6(4), 247-264. doi:10.1023/B:CCFP.0000006292.61072.d2

Wilson-Ahlstrom, A., Yohalem, N., DuBois, D., Ju, P., & Hillaker, B. (2014). From soft skills to hard data: Measuring youth program outcomes. Retrieved from The Forum for Youth Investment website: https://forumfyi.org/knowledge-center/from-soft-skills-to-hard-data/

Witt, P., & Caldwell, L. (2010). The rationale for recreation services for youth: An evidenced based approach. Ashburn, VA: National Recreation and Park Association.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2019.641

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2019 Deb Risisky, James MacGregor, Deborah Smith, Jamie Abraham, MaryJo Archambault

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.