Program

Sep 19, 2007

OVERVIEW

SMART Talk is an
anger management program which focuses on teaching conflict resolution skills
to adolescents. The program has 8 modules: What’s Anger, Triggers and
Fuses, Anger Buster, Channel Surfin’, What’s On Their Minds, Celebrity
Interviews, Teen Interviews, and Talking It Out. These modules mainly
address the causes of anger in children, anger management, perspective taking
when conflict does occur, and resolution strategies for conflict. The
program is computer-based and uses a variety of activities; games, simulations,
cartoons, animation, and interviews. Students work independently on the
computer programs and attend hour-long sessions once or twice a week for up to
5 weeks. The evaluations below found that the SMART Talk anger management
program was effective in increasing students’ awareness of their responses to
anger, knowledge about anger triggers, and intentions to use non-violent
solutions to resolve conflict. SMART Talk was also effective in
decreasing students’ beliefs supportive of violence as a solution to
conflict. However, significant impacts were not found in a study of
junior high students in a disciplinary alternative education program, though
this may reflect a very small sample size.

DESCRIPTION OF
PROGRAM

Target population: Elementary and middle school-aged children who are at risk
for development of violent or aggressive behavior

The SMART Talk program is a computer-based anger management
program for aggressive and/or violent elementary and middle school-aged
children. The program has 8 different modules which address different
aspects of anger management and conflict resolution. In the program,
students learn about situations that can provoke anger, how to deal with anger
without expressing it in aggressive or violent behavior, understand others’
perspectives of conflict, how to resolve disputes, and problem solving for
conflict situations.

EVALUATION(S) OF
PROGRAM

Scheckner, S. B. (2003). The evaluation of an anger
management program for pre-adolescents in an elementary school setting. Dissertation
Abstracts International.
(UMI No. 3098399)

Evaluated
population: 
44 fifth grade students who were rated by their teachers as
“aggressive”. The school sampled was 87% African-American and 13%
Caucasian. The sample consisted of 3 Caucasians, 39 African-Americans,
and 2 American Indians. All but 5 students were on free or reduced price
lunch programs.

Approach: The teacher-rated aggressive students were
randomly assigned to SMART Talk treatment groups or a control group who
completed a computer-based reading skills improvement program (developed by
Bosworth; see below). Students went to their respective programs once per
week for one hour per session for a total of 8 weeks. Students were then
given a variety of measures designed to assess knowledge of anger triggers,
efficacy in being able to use non-violent strategies, intentions to implement
non-violent strategies, and overall knowledge learned from the program.

Results: SMART Talk treatment students reported
higher levels of intent to use non-violent strategies when compared with those
in the reading skills control group. Treatment students also had more
knowledge about conflict resolution and were more confident in using nonviolent
strategies when compared to control students, but these results were not
statistically significant.

Bosworth, K., Espelage, D., Dubay, T., Daytner, G., &
Karageorge, K. (2000). Preliminary evaluation of a multimedia violence
prevention program for adolescents. American Journal of Health
Behavior, 24,
268-280.

Evaluated Population: 516 sixth, seventh, and eighth
grade students from an urban/suburban middle school. The school was
comprised of 12% bused in students from the inner-city and 20% from low income
rural area. The student sample was 84% Caucasian, 9% African-American, 4%
bi-racial, 4% other ethnicities. A total of 29% of the students were on
free or reduced price lunch programs.

Approach: Schools randomly assigned students to
classrooms at the beginning of the school year. Researchers then randomly
assigned classrooms to either the SMART Talk treatment condition or a control
condition which received no treatment program. Students in the treatment
condition used the SMART Talk program in their classes or in their free-time.
There were no assigned lessons within the program and students could work
at their own pace. Students were assessed using tests to measure the
following: self-awareness, beliefs supportive of violence, self-efficacy,
intentions to implement non-violent conflict resolution strategies, and
aggressive behavior.

Results: Students in the SMART Talk treatment had
higher levels of intentions to use non-violent strategies to resolve conflict
when compared to controls. Treatment groups were less likely to value
violence as a solution to a conflict compared to control groups. Lastly,
students in treatment groups were more aware of their responses to anger when
compared with control students. Efficacy/confidence and aggressive
behavior were not affected.

SOURCES FOR MORE
INFORMATION

Link to program curriculum: http://www.lmssite.com

References

Bosworth, K., Espelage, D., Dubay, T., Daytner, G., &
Karageorge, K. (2000). Preliminary evaluation of a multimedia violence
prevention program for adolescents. American Journal of Health
Behavior, 24,
268-280.

Scheckner, S. B. (2003). The evaluation of an anger
management program for pre-adolescents in an elementary school setting. Dissertation
Abstracts International.
(UMI No. 3098399)

Travis, S. L. (2005). Teaching conflict resolution
skills, using computer-based instruction, to at-risk junior high students
assigned to disciplinary alternative education program. Dissertation
Abstracts International
. (UMI No. 3195966)

KEYWORDS: Adolescents, Children, Aggression, Black/African American, Computer-Based, Males and Females (Co-ed), Elementary School, Middle School, Rural and/or Small Towns, Urban, Suburban, Computer-Based, Reading/Literacy, Other Social/Emotional Health, Skills Training, Cost Is Available, Manual Is Available

Program information last updated 9/19/07