Program

Dec 21, 2012

OVERVIEW

Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways was created in response to concerns of overwhelming neighborhood violence in Richmond, Virginia. There are different versions of the program available for use in sixth and seventh grade. The school-based program strives to reduce violent situations and behavior by promoting peaceful alternatives among students. The program integrates a violence prevention curriculum with peer mediation to encourage the behavior, attitude and knowledge necessary to reduce violence. The only consistent impact the RIPP sixth-grade curriculum reported was enhancing the knowledge base of program participants. Other outcomes reveal mixed effects. An evaluation of the seventh grade curriculum found that it reduced disciplinary code violations in the year following intervention. The evaluation also found the seventh grade program to be effective for boys and for high-risk students on a number of measures.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Sixth and seventh graders in high-risk neighborhoods

RIPP-6: The Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways sixth-grade program (RIPP-6) consists of twenty-five 50-minute sessions. The sessions are school-based and occur once a week during school hours. Prevention specialists are specifically trained to implement peer mediation and the RIPP curriculum, which derives from a health promotion model. The curriculum incorporates experiential methods, didactic learning techniques, and behavioral repetition.  Activities include a 7-step problem-solving model, role-playing, group exercises, and critical-thinking exercises that allow students to experience and resolve violent scenarios in a controlled environment. The program aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills to promote peaceful and healthy alternatives to violence, and ultimately reduce the amount of violence they encounter over their lifetime.

RIPP-7: The Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways seventh-grade program (RIPP-7) was developed to strengthen and sustain the effects of RIPP-6. The seventh-grade program uses the same conceptual model as RIPP-6, but places more emphasis on conflict resolution. The RIPP-7 program uses similar teaching techniques as RIPP-6, but includes more experiential activities, including activities modified from the martial art Aikido. The RIPP-7 curriculum is delivered in 12 sessions and focuses on skill building using the acronym RSLV, which stands for:

(a) Respect others (Listen to what they have to say.)

(b) Speak clearly (How else can they understand what you mean?)

(c) Listen to yourself (What you want is important.)

(d) Value the friendship (Isn’t that what life is all about?)

The program manual is available for purchase from Amazon.com [http://www.amazon.com/Promoting-Non-Violence-Early-Adolescence-Responding/dp/0306463865] for $44.95.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Farrell, A.D., Meyer, A.L., & Dahlberg, L.L. (1996). Richmond Youth Against Violence: A School-based Program for Urban Adolescents. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 12(5), 13-21.

Approach: Three Richmond middle schools took part in the evaluation. These schools represent different geographic sections of Richmond, but are demographically similar. Classrooms were randomly assigned to either the intervention group (13 classrooms, 305 students) or to the no-intervention control group (14 classrooms, 321 students). According to school records, boys and girls were distributed almost equally between groups, and 96 percent of participants were African-American.

Self-report data at both pre and posttest were collected from 474 participating students (76 percent).  Data at pretest and follow up were available from 66 percent of students at six months, and from 57 percent at the 12-month follow-up. Attrition affected both groups similarly, with 116 students transferring schools during the course of the program.

Outcome measures were collected at four time points: pre- and posttest data were collected in October and May of the school year, and follow-up data were obtained six and 12 months after completion of the program. Data were collected through student surveys, and from school records of disciplinary violations and in-school suspensions. In order to emphasize confidentiality, research assistants administered the student surveys during homeroom periods, and school officials did not handle forms. Students had the option of returning blank surveys. The surveys measured attitudes toward aggression, emotional distress, self-esteem, emotional restraint, conflict-resolution skills, aggressive/delinquent behavior, exposure to violence, and knowledge of material covered in curriculum.

Results: The RIPP program had a significant impact on improving the knowledge-base of intervention group students, but it did not have a significant impact on attitudes toward and use of nonviolent responses. The program did have significant impacts on some behavioral measures at post-test. Program participants had significantly fewer violent behavior violations (Event Ratio=2.2) and in-school suspensions (Event Ratio=5.0) then students in the control group. The impact on in-school suspensions remained significant for boys at the twelve-month follow-up (Event Ratio=3.0), but was not significant for girls.

Additionally, RIPP participants reported higher levels of involvement in peer mediation (Odds Ratio=0.6), and lower levels of fight-related injuries (Odds Ratio=2.5) at post-test than the control group did. No impacts were found at post-test on having threatened to hurt a teacher, having brought a weapon to school, or having threatened to hurt someone with a weapon. At the six-month follow-up, RIPP participants were less likely to have threatened to hurt a teacher (Odds Ratio=1.7) and remained more likely to have participated in peer mediation (Odds Ratio=0.6). No impacts were found at this time for having brought a weapon to school, having threatened to hurt someone with a weapon, or having been injured in a fight. At the 12-month follow-up, girls in the intervention group were significantly less likely to have threatened to hurt a teacher (Odds Ratio=2.5). This impact was not found for boys. There was no impact at the 12-month follow up on any other self-report variable (brought a weapon to school, threatened to hurt someone with a weapon, been injured in a fight, or ever participated in peer mediation).

The program was more effective for students with higher pretest levels of violence.  Program participation was associated with smaller effects among students with lower levels of pretest violence, who tended to display low levels of violence at all time points.

Farrell, A.D., Meyer, A.L., Sullivan, T.N., & Kung, E.M. (2003). Evaluation of Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RIPP) Seventh Grade Curriculum. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 12(1), 101-120.

Evaluated population: The sample was composed of 224 boys and 252 girls between 11.9 and 15.9 years of age. The sample was primarily African American (97 percent) and almost half of the students (47 percent) were from single parent families.

Approach: The study took place at two public middle schools in Richmond, VA. Both schools had a school-wide peer mediation program in place and had implemented the RIPP-6 curriculum universally when study participants were in sixth grade. The study began when participants entered seventh grade. Seventh-grade homerooms in each school were randomly assigned to the intervention or a control group. The RIPP-7 curriculum was implemented during elective periods.

Data were collected from the schools on gender, ethnicity, and age, as well as violations of disciplinary codes on violence and number of suspensions each quarter for all students. Student-reported data was collected at the beginning of the school year (pretest), end of the school year (posttest), and sixth and twelve months post-intervention. Students were assessed on frequency of problem behaviors, anxiety, knowledge of intervention, and attitudes toward violence.

Results: The study had a high attrition rate, with only 50 percent of the sample completing both the pretest and the sixth month follow-up, and 41 percent of the sample completing the pretest and the twelve month follow-up. Attrition rates were mainly due to school transfers (28 percent of the total sample) and did not differ between intervention and control group.

There was no significant intervention impact on disciplinary code violations for violence during the seventh grade school year. However, during the eighth grade school year (after the intervention had ended) students who participated in RIPP-7 were significantly less likely to have a disciplinary code violation for violent behavior (Rate Ratio=2.1) than students in the control group. There was no significant intervention impact on number of suspensions.

RIPP-7 participants scored significantly higher than control group students on an assessment of curriculum knowledge at posttest (d=0.36). This impact was maintained at the six month follow-up for boys (d=0.65), but not for girls.

At the six month follow-up, boys who participated in RIPP-7 reported significantly lower rates of nonphysical aggression (d=0.37) than boys in the control group. At the twelve month follow-up, boys in the intervention group reported less favorable attitudes towards violence (d=.34) than boys in the control group. No significant impacts were found for girls at either the sixth or twelve month follow-up.

The program was particularly effective for higher-risk students. For students who reported  high levels of violence in the pretest assessment, those who participated in the RIPP-7 program reported significantly lower levels of violence at the follow-up assessments than those in the control group. The same pattern was found for nonphysical aggression and delinquent behavior; students with high scores on these scales who participated in the intervention reported lower scores at follow-up than similar students in the control group.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Link to program curriculum: http://www.amazon.com/Promoting-Non-Violence-Early-Adolescence-Responding/dp/0306463865

References

Farrell, A.D., Meyer, A.L., & Dahlberg, L.L. (1996). Richmond Youth Against Violence: A School-based Program for Urban Adolescents. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 12(5), 13-21.

Farrell, A.D., Meyer, A.L., Sullivan, T.N., & Kung, E.M. (2003). Evaluation of Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RIPP Seventh Grade Curriculum. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 12(1), 101-120.

KEYWORDS: Adolescence (12-17), Middle School, Children (3-11), Males and Females (coed), High-Risk, Urban, School-Based, Skills Training, Aggression/Bullying, Other Behavioral Problems, Anxiety Disorders/Symptoms, Black/African American, Other Mental Health, Social Skills/Life Skills, Manual is available, Cost

Program information last updated 12/21/12.