Program

Apr 20, 2009

OVERVIEW

The Social
Aggression Prevention Program (SAPP) is a school-based intervention aimed at
preventing and reducing aggressive behaviors in fourth through sixth grade
girls. The program uses a small-group format in which discussion, role playing,
modeling, games, and collaboration exercises are implemented. In an evaluation
of the program, 134 female students from six elementary schools were randomly
assigned to the SAPP intervention or to a reading club (RC) control group
intervention. Results indicated that girls in the SAPP intervention group
reported greater decreases in the use of exclusion and gossiping techniques than
girls in the control group. Additionally, in a sub-sample of girls with
initially high levels of aggression, those receiving the SAPP intervention were
significantly more likely to report an increase in perpetrator perspective than
those in the control group. Finally for this high-aggression subsample of
girls, teachers rated a greater increase in prosocial behaviors for those in the
SAPP group compared with those in the control group.

DESCRIPTION
OF PROGRAM

Target
population: 
Female students enrolled in Grades 4 through 6.

The Social
Aggression Prevention Program (SAPP) is a theoretically-informed, school-based,
small group intervention program aimed at preventing and reducing social
aggression in girls. The program uses discussion, role playing, modeling,
games, and collaboration to meet the following five goals: 1) Increased
knowledge of social aggression, 2) increased emotional understanding of one’s
self and others, 3) promotion of positive communication and behavior, 4)
providing opportunities to observe, model, and practice social skills, and 5)
teaching social problem-solving.

The program is
implemented over a 10-week period in 40-minute weekly small group sessions.
Each group consists of four to seven girls and a group leader. Group leaders
are trained individuals with experience in counseling elementary school-aged
children.

EVALUATION(S)
OF PROGRAM

Cappella, E., &
Weinstein, R. (2006). The prevention of social aggression among girls. Social
Development, 15,
434-462.

Evaluated
population: 
134 female students between the ages of 9 and 12 from six
schools (13 classrooms) in northern California served as the sample for this
evaluation. Children were enrolled in grades four through six. The sample was
ethnically diverse and included 26% Caucasians, 25% African-Americans, 24%
Latinos, 19% Asian Americans, and 6% from other ethnic backgrounds.

Approach:
Girls within classroomes were randomly assigned to receive one of two
interventions: 1) The SAPP, or 2) the small group reading club (RC), which
served as the control condition. Children in each intervention group attended
weekly, 40-minute sessions over the course of a 10 week period.

Children in the
SAPP group experienced the intervention as described above. Children in the
control group participated in small group literacy tasks, such as oral readings,
relevant art activities, writing assignments, and book discussions, aimed at
increasing student exposure to words and basic reading abilities.

Two to four weeks
prior to the beginning of the intervention implementation, children and teachers
completed a battery of measures. Children were assessed for levels of empathic
behaviors and cognitions, social problem solving (including use of perpetrator
perspective and avoidance of exclusion and gossiping techniques), and reading
achievement. Teachers and peers were asked to rate children’s social
behaviors. This same set of measures was given again, two to four weeks after
the completion of the intervention.

Analyses were
conducted on the full sample and on a subsample of girls who scored high on
aggression measures during the baseline assessments.

Results:

Full sample.Results for the full sample of girls indicated that there were no
significant intervention impacts for teacher ratings of empathy, prosocial
behaviors, or social aggression. Furthermore, there were no significant
differences across intervention groups for peer ratings of changes in prosocial
behaviors or social aggression. For the self-report indicators, girls in the
SAPP intervention had significantly greater decreases in use of exclusion and
gossiping social problem-solving techniques than girls in the control
condition. Effect sizes for these results ranged from 0.40 to 0.62. Girls from
the two study groups did not differ in self-reported changes of perpetrator
perspective. Finally, girls in the RC group experienced a greater increase in
reading achievement than girls in the SAPP group. The effect size for this
result was 0.27.

High aggression
subsample.
Results for the subsample of girls with initially high levels of
aggression indicated that there was no significant intervention impact for
teacher ratings of empathy and social aggression. However, teachers did report
a higher increase in prosocial behaviors for those in the SAPP group compared
with those in the control group. The interaction effect size for this result
was 0.62. For the self-report indicators, girls in the SAPP intervention with
initially high levels of aggression indicated a greater increase in perpetrator
perspective than girls from this subset of the sample in the control group. The
interaction effect size for this result was 0.90. This subset of girls did not
differ across intervention in their use of exclusion and gossiping techniques.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Cappella, E., &
Weinstein, R. (2006). The prevention of social aggression among girls. Social
Development, 15,
434-462.

KEYWORDS: Children,
Adolescents, Elementary, Middle School, Female-Only, White/Caucasian, Black/African
American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, School-Based,
Aggression/Violence/Externalizing Problems, Social Skills, Reading

Program
information last updated on 4/20/09.