Program

Jun 23, 2008

OVERVIEW

A school-based intervention to reduce aggressive behavior in
maladjusted adolescents was implemented in three Israeli vocational and special
education schools. Emotionally disturbed, behaviorally disordered, or socially
maladjusted adolescent male students were randomly assigned to either the
treatment or control groups in two consecutive years. Students in the treatment
group participated in sessions led by a trained graduate student, teacher, or
school counselor who introduced a film, poem, or story with themes of
aggression and led group discussions on adolescents’ feelings about the behaviors.
In the first year, teachers reported significant decreases in withdrawal
behavior of students in the experimental group compared with students in the
control group. In the second year, post-intervention teacher observations
of students’ negative behavior had significantly decreased compared with
students in the control group. Additionally, students’ in the control group
reported significant increases in their endorsement of beliefs supporting
aggression, as where there was no significant change among students in the
experimental groups.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Adolescent males considered to be
emotionally disturbed, behaviorally disordered, or socially maladjusted.

Shechtman and Nachshol’s school-based intervention to reduce
aggressive behavior in maladjusted adolescents consists of 15 one-hour sessions
for groups of six to eight maladjusted adolescents. These sessions are
led by a graduate student, teacher, or school counselor trained for 60 hours in
the intervention methods and techniques. Teachers introduced films, poems, or
stories with themes of aggression and led group discussions on adolescents’
feelings about the behaviors.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Schechtman, Z., and Nachshol, R. (1996). A School-Based
Intervention to Reduce Aggressive Behavior in Maladjusted Adolescents. Journal
of Applied Developmental Psychology, 17
, 535-552.

Evaluated population: Intervention group I consisted
of 56 students from one Israeli vocational school, and intervention group II
consisted of 85 students from two Israeli schools.

Approach: Participants were recruited through
vocational and special education programs for adolescents considered to be
emotionally disturbed, behaviorally disordered, or socially maladjusted. The
intervention took place over two years with two separate groups. In the
first group, 18 students were randomly assigned to the experimental condition,
and 38 students from the school were assigned to the control group. The second
group was comprised of students from two schools; 42 were randomly assigned to
intervention group a, 24 to intervention group b (the year one wait-list
control group) and 19 to the control group.

Employing group therapy principles, students in the
treatment groups participated in 15 teacher or counselor-led one-hour sessions
in groups of 6-8. The intervention uses bibliotherapy, which employs
literature, and clarifying processes to help participants become committed to
change. Teachers used the provided intervention curriculum to lead
students in group discussion of a story, poem or film related to motives or
outcomes of aggressive behavior. Students were then asked to share their
own feelings related to the presented material with the group and possible
alternative behaviors were discussed. The control group participated in
normally scheduled mandatory social class sessions. These classes dealt with
social themes, but not directly with aggressive behavior.

Peer assessment of aggressive behavior, self-reported
attitudes towards aggression, and teacher-report of aggression and behavioral
problems were measured pre-intervention and four-weeks after the completion of
the intervention for all groups.

Results: In intervention group I, students in the
control group increased aggression and acting-out behavior significantly while
there were no significant changes in aggressive behavior in the experimental
group. Students in the experimental group did experience significant decrease
in withdrawal behavior as evaluated by teachers compare with students in the
control group.

In the second intervention group, there were significant
differences between groups in the changes in aggressive behavior and attitudes
toward aggression. Students in the control group experienced a significant
increase in their endorsement of beliefs supporting aggression as where there
was no significant change among students in the experimental groups.
Additionally, both experimental groups in year two (the wait-list group from
year one and the year two treatment group) had significant decreases in
teacher-evaluated negative behavior.

Random assignment was by class while analyses were among
individuals. The authors did not adjust for this.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Schechtman, Z., and Nachshol, R. (1996). A School-Based
Intervention to Reduce Aggressive Behavior in Maladjusted Adolescents. Journal
of Applied Developmental Psychology, 17
, 535-552.

KEYWORDS: Adolescence (12-17), White or Caucasian, School-based, Mentoring, Tutoring,
Counseling/Therapy, Behavioral Problems, Mental Health, Social/Emotional
Health, Aggression

Program information last updated on 6/23/08.