Evaluation of a theater-based youth violence prevention program for elementary school children

Cassandra Kisiel*, Margaret Blaustein, Joseph Spinazzola, Caren Swift Schmidt, Marla Zucker, Bessel van der Kolk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The present study evaluated the impact of Urban Improv (UI), a theater-based youth violence prevention (YVP) program developed for inner-city youth, on three behavioral and psychological outcome domains: aggressive behaviors, prosocial behaviors, and scholastic attention and engagement. This study compared outcomes for 77 elementary school students in classrooms designated to receive UI with those of 63 students from matched control classrooms. Findings revealed that students who received UI were superior to matched controls on all outcome domains. Findings support UI as a promising practice for YVP with urban elementary school students and suggest that greater attention should be focused on application of theater-based programs in YVP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-36
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of School Violence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 12 2006


  • Elementary school
  • Outcome evaluation
  • Prevention
  • Theater
  • Youth violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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