The objectives of this study were to determine treatment effects of the Second Step middle-school program on reductions in youth aggression (including bullying), sexual violence, substance use, and teen dating violence when in high school, as well as to assess middle-school belonging as a mediator of these treatment effects on targeted problem behaviors in high school.
Findings show that the middle school's social-emotional learning program improved students sense of belonging across the middle school years compared to students in the control schools. This increase in school belonging was associated with decreases in multiple forms of aggression and victimization as the Second-Step participants transitioned into high school; however, the Second Step program did not apparently prevent participants' involvement in teen dating violence or substance use in high school. This report notes that teen dating violence was not directly addressed in the middle-school program, which may have contributed to its emergence in high school. On the other hand, the middle-school program did address alcohol and drug use prevention, but without significant prevention effects in high school. This report recommends including in the Second Step program countermeasures for teen dating violence. Study participants were 1,565 students from 15 middle schools in Illinois who were followed into six high schools. Schools had to agree to random assignment and to refrain from implementing other school-wide bullying prevention programming during the 3-year study. Males composed 53 percent of the sample, with 22 percent identifying as White, 21 percent as African-American, 33 percent as Hispanic, and 11 percent as biracial. The effect of treatment was examined for the following longitudinal outcomes: bullying perpetration and victimization, sexual harassment perpetration and victimization, homophobic perpetration and victimization, and teen dating violence. 1 figure, 4 references, and an annotated listing of five peer-reviewed articles on this study
Report (Grant Sponsored)
Date Published: October 1, 2017
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