Evaluations of Two Violence Prevention Programs for Youth Show Little Impact

Field of Work: Youth Violence Prevention

Problem Synopsis: Youth violence can be reduced by disseminating violence prevention programs that have demonstrated their effectiveness. The problem is that few have.

Synopsis of the Work: The University of Colorado at Boulder's Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, though its Blueprints for Violence Prevention project, replicated two promising violence prevention programs and evaluated their impact on program participants. One program, the Good Behavior Game, is for first and second graders; the other, CASASTART, targets adolescents aged 11–13.

Thirty-six first grade teachers with 859 students in 13 Colorado schools replicated the Good Behavior Game for one year. Half of the classes used the Good Behavior Game and half did not (the control group). Twenty-two schools in seven cities replicated CASASTART, most for two years, with 364 students participating initially and 272 students (74.7%) at the end of the program. About half of the students received CASASTART and about half were in the control group.

Key Findings

The evaluators found that the Good Behavior Game had few positive effects and some negative effects. Overall, CASASTART showed few significant effects on behavioral outcomes, but it may be detrimental to females.