orously evaluated and illustrates the potential to prevent numerous mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) disorders and the problem behaviors related to them. Box II-1 highlights some of the major outcomes of these interventions. In some areas in which evidence is more limited but there is clear conceptual potential, we mention interventions that appear promising but have not been tested in multiple experimental evaluations.


Outcome Highlights of Preventive Interventions

Prevention of Child Maltreatment

  • Meta-analyses have found that interventions that promote family wellness and provide family support are successful in preventing child maltreatment.

  • Home visiting programs have demonstrated reduced physical abuse, aggression, and harsh parenting.

  • Comprehensive early education programs have demonstrated reduced child maltreatment.

Academic Achievement

  • School-based social and emotional learning programs that include academic achievement as an outcome had effects equivalent to a 10 percentage point gain in academic test performance (Durlak, Weissberg, et al., 2007).

Violence Prevention

  • School-based violence prevention programs have effects that would lead to a 25-33 percent reduction in the base rate of aggressive problems in an average school (Wilson and Lipsey, 2007).

Conduct Problems

  • The Good Behavior Game reduced disruptive and aggressive behavior and reduced the likelihood that initially aggressive students would receive a diagnosis of conduct disorder by sixth grade (Wilcox, Kellam, et al., 2008), or that persistently highly aggressive boys would receive a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder as a young adult (Petras, Kellam, et al., 2008).

  • Linking Interests of Families and Teachers reduced levels of aggressive behavior (Eddy, Reid, and Fetrow, 2000).

  • Fast Track reduced self-reported antisocial behavior and, for children at highest risk, reduced incidence of conduct disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group, 2007).


  • Meta-analyses have found that interventions to prevent depression can both reduce the number of new cases of depression in adolescents and reduce

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