Assessing Prosocial Behaviors and Drug use Among High Risk Adolescents: Artistic and Academic Interventions
Violence in schools is a widespread social issue among adolescents (Banyard, Cross, & Modecki, 2006; Herrenkohl, McMorris, & Catalano, 2007). Especially for at-risk students, school violence has a negative impact on learning, social welfare, and potential for success. After-school programs addressing these and other problems have gained popularity in recent years (Molina, Dulmas, & Sowers, 2005). Linked in part to changes in funding mechanisms, these programs have grown in both size and scope. There is a relative dearth of controlled studies in this literature despite the fact that funding programs increasingly mandate the use of evidence-based programming, In this paper, the authors present a comparison study of the effects of an afterschool intervention comprised of artistic and academic programming for high-risk young adolescents. Results indicated that those in the intervention group showed less emotional distress and more protective attitudes against violence and drug use. While overall suspension rates were not different than a nonintervention control group, students in the intervention group were somewhat less likely to be disciplined for violent behavior or drug use. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for the use of evidenced-based practice in adolescent afterschool programming.
Keywords: Adolescents, Arts Education, School Violence, Prosocial Attitudes, Comparison Study
Dr. Daniel C. Johnson
Assistant Professor and Assistant Chair, Department of Music, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Dr. Caroline Clements
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Wilmington