Preventing Youth Violence and Dropout: A Randomized Field Experiment


Preventing Youth Violence and Dropout: A Randomized Field Experiment

Issue/Topic: At-Risk (incl. Dropout Prevention); School Safety
Author(s): Ludwig, Jens; Heller, Sara; Pollack, Harold; Ander, Roseanna
Organization(s): National Bureau of Economic Research
Publication: National Bureau of Economic Research
Published On: 1/1/2013

Background:
Improving the long-term life outcomes of disadvantaged youth remains a policy priority in the United States, although identifying successful interventions for adolescents - particularly males - has proven challenging.

Purpose:
To determine whether an intervention that includes regular exposure to pro-social adults, after-school programming and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) affects outcomes in disadvantaged youth, and which elements of the intervention matter most.

Findings/Results:
The intervention program consisted of regular exposure to pro-social adults, after-school programming and -- perhaps the most novel ingredient -- cognitive behaviorial therapy (CBT). CBT is a short-duration intervention from psychology that helps people recognize and reduce unhelpful automatic behaviors and biased beliefs. Program participation reduced violent-crime arrests during the program year and generated sustained gains in schooling outcomes.                    





Policy Implications/Recommendations:















Research Design:
Randomized controlled trial

Population/Participants/Subjects:
Disadvantaged male youths in grades 7 - 10 from high-crime Chicago neighborhoods

Year data is from:
2009-10 academic year

Setting:
District

Data Collection and Analysis:
Randomly assigned 2,740 youth to programming or to a control group

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