Violence prevention: An evaluation of program effects with urban African American students

Susan D. McMahon*, Jason J. Washburn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


While many violence prevention programs have been developed to combat the problems of violence and aggression among youth, few programs have been evaluated. This study examines the impact of a violence prevention program among African American students in two inner-city schools in Chicago. Students in 5th through 8th grade participated in Second Step: A Violence Prevention Program, and completed surveys at pretest and posttest. Aggressive behavior and prosocial behavior were assessed through self-report, peer-report, and teacher-report. In addition, knowledge and skills related to violence, empathy, impulsivity, and sense of school membership were assessed. The findings revealed significant increases in self-reported knowledge and skills, self-reported empathy, and teacher-reported prosocial behavior. Increases in empathy significantly predicted less aggressive behavior. School setting influenced several outcomes, including sense of school membership. Implications for primary prevention and evaluation are discussed with a focus on the importance of context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-62
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Primary Prevention
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2003


  • Adolescents
  • Program evaluation
  • Second Step
  • Urban African American youth
  • Violence prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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