Testing a Curriculum for Youngsters Impacted by Violence

Studying an intervention to improve the mental health of youth exposed to domestic and community violence

In 2002, researchers at the Columbia University School of Social Work developed a 12-week curriculum designed to help parents mitigate the effects that living in violent neighborhoods may have on their children.

The intervention, called SURVIVE (Supporting Urban Residents to be Violence-Free in Violent Environments) teaches families about the effects of violence and offers parents techniques to help their children deal with it. But the study had to be abandoned when it proved too difficult to recruit sufficient numbers of families to participate.

Key Results: Instead, the researchers used the grant funds to:

  • Refine the SURVIVE curriculum—most notably by lowering the age for participation from 11–14 to 6–11 years old (before participation in gang-related activities) to reach children who would be more amenable to attending a family-based project.
  • Document the SURVIVE curriculum and the facilitator training program and test evaluation measures.

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