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Effects of 2 Prevention Programs on High-Risk Behaviors Among African American Youth.

NCJ Number
Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Issue: 158 Dated: 2004 Pages: 377-384
Date Published
8 pages

This study used a cluster randomized trial to test the efficacy of two programs designed to reduce high-risk behaviors among inner-city African American youth. 


Participants were students in grades 5-8 in 12 metropolitan Chicago schools, along with their parents and teachers. One program, the social development curriculum (SDC), consisted of 16 to 21 lessons per year that focused on social-competence skills necessary to manage situations in which high-risk behaviors occur. The second program, the school/community intervention (SCI), consisted of SDC and school-wide climate and parent and community components. The control group received an attention-placebo health enhancement curriculum (HEC) of equal intensity to the SDC, but focusing on nutrition, physical activity, and general health care. Outcomes were measured with student self-reports of violence, provocative behavior, school delinquency, substance use, and sexual behaviors (intercourse and condom use). For boys, the SDC and SCI significantly reduced the rate of increase in violent behavior by 35 percent and 47 percent compared with HEC, respectively), provoking behavior (41 percent and 59 percent), school delinquency (31 percent and 66 percent), drug use (32 percent and 34 percent), and recent sexual intercourse (44 percent and 65 percent), and improved the rate of increase in condom use (95 percent and 165 percent). The SCI was significantly more effective than the SDC for a combined behavioral measure (79 percent improvement compared with 51 percent). There were no significant effects for girls. The study’s overall conclusion is that theoretically derived social-emotional programs that are culturally sensitive, developmentally appropriate, and offered in multiple grades can reduce multiple-risk behaviors for inner-city African American boys in grades 5 through 8. The lack of effects for girls warrants further research. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2004