Adapting the gang model: Peer mentoring for violence prevention

Karen Sheehan*, Joseph A. DiCara, Susan LeBailly, Katherine Kaufer Christoffel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Objectives. This study assessed the effectiveness of an inner-city peer- mentoring program in modifying the attitudes and behaviors involving violence of preadolescent mentees. Methods. In a case-matched cohort study involving 7- to 13-year-old children, 50 children enrolled in peer mentoring (case subjects) were compared with 75 control subjects. Case subjects were involved before enrollment in the community program in which the intervention occurred; control subjects lived in the same housing project and were matched with case subjects on age, sex, and census tract. A total of 19 community adolescents mentored the case subjects by designing and presenting violence prevention lessons. Two reliable self-report scales, Determining our Viewpoints of Violent Events and Normative Beliefs About Aggression Scale, were used to measure attitudinal change. Teachers completed the Revised Behavior Problem Checklist to assess changes in behavior. Results. At baseline, the survey scores of the case and control subjects were not different. After the intervention period, the case scores indicated less support for violence than the control scores. Case behavior scores did not change, but control behavior scores worsened. Conclusions. The data suggest that peer mentoring for younger children may be an important component of efforts to reduce youth violence. A larger multisite trial is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-54
Number of pages5
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Jul 1999


  • Community-based
  • Peer mentoring
  • Violence prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Adapting the gang model: Peer mentoring for violence prevention'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this