Sep 24, 2010


The Untitled
Aggression Reduction Program for Boys was designed to reduce aggressive behavior
among adolescent males through role-play and discussion. In a random assignment
study, boys assigned to take part in the 14-session intervention were compared
with boys assigned to a control group. Following the intervention, treatment
group boys made fewer hostile attributions to characters in a scenario than did
control group boys. Also, among schools that provided suspension data,
treatment boys received significantly fewer in-house suspensions than did
control boys during the three months after the intervention.


Aggressive 7th grade boys

This intervention
is intended to help aggressive boys acquire the knowledge, skills, and
preferences necessary for constructive need fulfillment. Boys meet after school
for an hour each week for 14 weeks and explore their basic needs and their
customary ways of fulfilling these needs. Boys were presented with frustrating
hypothetical scenarios and were asked to role-play these scenarios. Role-plays
were filmed and, after viewing the films, boys engaged in structured discussion
about how responses to the scenarios could be rendered more constructive. Boys
then role-played the scenarios again, focusing on constructive solutions to
problems presented.

The first seven
intervention sessions are led by a graduate student and a trained undergraduate
assistant. The last seven sessions are led by the graduate student alone.


Spielman, D. A.
& Staub, E. (2000). Reducing Boys’ Aggression: Learning to Fulfill Basic Needs
Constructively. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 21(2),

Twenty-five aggressive 7th grade boys from two urban
middle schools served as the study sample for this investigation. Boys ranged
in age from 11 to 14 years old. The schools served lower-middle class to lower
class families. The schools were primarily made up of African American and
Puerto Rican students.

The students were randomly assigned to treatment (n = 12) or control (n = 13)
groups. Treatment group boys met after school one day a week for 14 weeks to
take part in the basic needs fulfillment intervention.

During the study,
if a treatment group participant dropped out of the study, a matched control
student would also be eliminated. A limitation is that one control group member
was randomly assigned to the treatment group. The boys were assessed one month
after intervention on in-house suspension records, teacher evaluations of the
boys, hostile attribution bias, social role taking, and prosocial value

Results: The
treatment group was significantly less likely to attribute hostile intentions to
characters in two out of five scenarios when compared with the aggressive
control group. The remaining three scenarios showed no significant differences
between groups. There was no significant difference between groups on prosocial
value orientation. One of the schools showed a significant decrease in
suspensions among treatment group boys when compared with control group boys.
The other school did not provide pre-test suspension data. There was no
significant difference between groups on the teacher evaluations.



Spielman, D. A. &
Staub, E. (2000). Reducing Boys’ Aggression: Learning to Fulfill Basic Needs
Constructively. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 21(2),

KEYWORDS: Children
(3-11), Adolescents (12-17), Middle School, Male-only, Urban, School-based,
After School Program, Aggression, Social/Life Skills, Other Behavioral Problems.

information last updated on 9/24/10