Numerous schools are implementing youth violence prevention interventions aimed at enhancing conflict resolution skills without evaluating their effectiveness. Consequently, we formed a community academic partnership between a New Haven community-based organization and Yale's School of Public Health and Prevention Research Center to examine the impact of an ongoing conflict resolution curriculum in New Haven elementary schools, which had yet to be evaluated. Throughout the 2007-08 school year, 191 children in three schools participated in a universal conflict resolution intervention. We used a quasi-experimental design to examine the impact of the intervention on participants' likelihood of violence, conflict self-efficacy, hopelessness and hostility. Univariate and multivariable analyses were utilized to evaluate the intervention. The evaluation indicates that the intervention had little positive impact on participants' violence-related attitudes and behavior. The intervention reduced hostility scores significantly in School 1 (P < 0.01; Cohen's d = 0.39) and hopelessness scores in School 3 (P = 0.05, Cohen's d = 0.52); however, the intervention decreased the conflict self-efficacy score in School 2 (P = 0.04; Cohen's d = 0.23) and was unable to significantly change many outcome measures. The intervention's inability to significantly change many outcome measures might be remedied by increasing the duration of the intervention, adding additional facets to the intervention and targeting high-risk children.
Health Education Research, Volume 25, Issue 5, October 2010, Pages 757–768