Problem-Solving Skills Help Kids Build Self-Esteem and Steer Clear of Drugs

Elementary school program to prevent substance abuse and other problems

    • August 1, 1998

The Social Problem Solving Unit of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey expanded its social-skills-development and problem-solving program from fourth and fifth grades only to a schoolwide model for New Jersey elementary schools.

Key Results

  • Over the five-year grant period, investigators accomplished the following:

    • Amended the curriculum to improve its effectiveness with the largely African-American school population it was serving.
    • Trained more than 2,000 children in 15 N.J. schools. However, none of the 15 schools institutionalized the program schoolwide.
    • Trained some 142 educators through graduate-level courses developed by the Unit or in school-based, in-service mini-courses.

Key Findings

  • A post-test comparison with a control group who did not take the course found that participants showed better knowledge of course content, greater self-esteem, and improved problem-solving ability.