Promoting Pro-Social Skills to Reduce Violence Among Urban Middle School Youth
Keywords:after-school program, youth violence, recreation programs
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.
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