Please click to listen to the WFIT Minute: Track #49 – Early Childhood Aggression
Based on Research by Dr. Gerald J. August. Psychology Science Minute written Amaerican Psychological Association, adapted by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D.
Since early childhood aggression, anger, and fighting places a child at serious risk for later chronic antisocial behavior, like violence and substance abuse, what is effective in reducing this risk?
Dr. Gerald August and colleagues evaluated an annual 6-week violence prevention program for elementary school children with a high risk for aggression and their parents. The program focused on building academic and social skills, and included art, sports, recreation and a rewards program to encourage children to control their behavior.
A peer mentor and a family advocate worked with children, parents, and teachers during regular school. Four competencies were taught: children’s academic skills, self-control of impulsive behaviors, competence in getting along with others, and parent’s involvement with their children.
After two years, both boys and girls, in the program showed significant improvement in academic achievement, classroom concentration and school behaviors as compared to those who did not participate in the program. Parents who attended more often showed more improvement in effectively helping their children. The most severely aggressive children showed significant improvements in controlling their angry responses. Early intervention can get high-risk kids on a healthier and more productive life course.
August, G.J., Realmuto, G.M., Hectner, J.M., and Bloomquist, M.L. (2001). An integrated components preventive intervention for aggressive elementary school children: The Early Risers Program. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69(4):614-626.
For further information on this research see:
You may be interested in a related study on violence prevention with early elementary-age children. See Special Topics: Playground Aggression.
Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (1999). Initial impact of the Fast Track prevention trial for conduct problems: I. The high risk sample. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67:631-647.
Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (1999). Initial impact of the Fast Track prevention trial for conduct problems: II. Classroom effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67:648-657.