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Community Programs to Promote Youth Development
veloped to give practical information to communities to help them select a program intervention that best matched their needs and resources. Of the 450 delinquency, drug, and violence prevention programs the center reviewed, 10 met most of the following criteria: an experimental design with random assignment or a strong quasi-experimental design; evidence of a statistically significant deterrent (or marginal deterrent) effect on delinquency, drug use, and/or violent behavior; at least one additional site replication with experimental design and demonstrated effects; and evidence that the deterrent effect was sustained for at least one year following treatment.
Of the 10 model programs, 6 included youth ages 10 to 18 in their target population: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Quantum Opportunities, the Midwestern Prevention Project, Life Skills Training, Multisystemic Therapy, and the Bullying Prevention Program. The first three are described in detail later in this chapter; the Bullying Prevention Program was described earlier. The remaining two—Life Skills Training and Multisystemic Therapy (see Table 6–1 for more details)—are described below.
The Life Skills Training program is a school-based universal prevention program designed to prevent drug use. The program intervention is a curriculum to teach general life skills and social resistance skills training.
The Multisystemic Therapy Program uses a family ecological systems approach to help serious violent or substance-abusing juvenile offenders. The therapy focuses on getting families involved in changing those aspects of the youth’s setting (i.e., peers, school, family, and community) that contribute to the problem behavior. The primary method is teaching effective parenting skills and helping parents overcome such barriers to effective parenting as drug abuse and lack of a social support network in the community.
In an effort to understand the source of change across the 10 violence prevention programs reviewed, Elliot and Tolan (1999) looked for evidence that change in risk or protective factors mediated change in violent behavior. However, the program evaluations either had not collected the necessary data to analyze the causal processes or had not reported on the analysis. Likewise, because the studies evaluated whole program packages rather than specific program components, it was not possible to determine exactly what worked in any given program. Nevertheless, these 10 programs do provide models of what can be done in communities to decrease rates of violence. Interestingly, most of the