PeaceBuilders: A theoretically driven, school-based model for early violence prevention

D. D. Embry, D. J. Flannery, A. T. Vazsonyi, K. E. Powell, H. Atha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

PeaceBuilders® is a schoolwide violence-prevention program for elementary schools (K-5). A coalition of the Pima County Community Services Department, University of Arizona, and Heartsprings, Inc. (a Tucson-based company) are conducting a formal evaluation. Children who grow up to commit acts of violence show cognitive, social, and imitative differences from their peers. These characteristics can be ameliorated, most success fully through interventions that begin at an early age and involve multiple segments of the child's social experiences and interactions. PeaceBuilders activities are built into the school environment and the daily interactions among students, teachers, and administrative staff, all of whom are taught a common language and provided models of positive behavior, environmental cues to signal such behavior, opportunities to rehearse positive behavior, and rewards for practicing it. Four schools, one from each of four matched pairs, were randomly assigned to begin Peace-Builders in Year 1. The remaining four schools begin in Year 2. Outcome assessments include student self-reports, standardized teacher reports, playground observations, and school and law enforcement records. Process assessments include school observations and surveys of teacher practices and satisfaction. Surveys were completed by 2,736 children. The sample is about 55% Hispanic, 26% Anglo, 14% Native American, and 4% African American. Among children in grades 3-5, during the past week 15% had been sent to the office for disciplinary problems, 13% tried to start a fight, 27% hit someone, and 12% reported being threatened with a gun or knife. Violent behaviors and experiences are common among the studied children. A valid evaluation is underway of PeaceBuilders. Medical Subject Headings (MESH): violence, intervention studies, primary prevention, program evaluation, child (age 6-12), aggression, education (early intervention).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-100
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Volume12
Issue number5 SUPPL.
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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