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Intervention Summary

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PeaceBuilders

PeaceBuilders is a schoolwide violence prevention program for elementary schools (grades K-5). PeaceBuilders attempts to create a positive school climate by developing positive relationships between students and school staff; directly teaching nonviolent attitudes, values, and beliefs; and providing incentives for young people to display these behaviors at school, in the community, and at home. PeaceBuilders introduces a common language to a school centered on six principles: praise people; avoid put-downs; seek wise people as advisers and friends; notice and correct hurts we cause; right wrongs; and help others. Activities and rewards designed to teach and encourage these "peace-building" behaviors are woven into the school's everyday routine with the participation of all staff in the school, including teachers, classroom aides, administrators, librarians, nurses, playground monitors, and any others who regularly interact with students. Targeted outcomes include improved social competence, more frequent positive and prosocial behavior, and reduced aggression.

Implementation begins with 2-hour, developer-facilitated meeting during which the school administrators designated as the site's PeaceBuilders leadership team share ideas for site-wide activities and create an implementation plan. All school staff then participate in a 4-hour on-site training, during which they learn how to model and support positive behavior using the PeaceBuilders curriculum. Over the remainder of the year, each of the principles is taught by instructional staff in monthly installments. PeaceBuilders principles are prominently displayed throughout the school, and daily rituals are introduced to foster a sense of belonging and provide environmental prompts for positive behavior. For example, teachers and students are encouraged to acknowledge the good behavior of others by writing "PraiseNotes" on specially designed notepads. "Peace feet" might be placed by the drinking fountains to remind children not to cut in line while waiting their turn, and students are sometimes sent to the principal for kind acts or good deeds rather than just for discipline problems (principal "preferrals"). Between activities, staff actively monitor hot spots such as lunchrooms and hallways, praising prosocial behavior.

Schools receive on-site coaching and ongoing support as needed. Training and professional development opportunities provided by the developer include in-service sessions on important issues identified by school staff, periodic group forums to discuss successes and challenges to implementation, and occasional 1-day institutes that focus on applying and creating new materials.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Substance abuse prevention
Outcomes Review Date: July 2013
1: Social competence
2: Peace-building behavior
3: Aggressive and violent behavior
Outcome Categories Social functioning
Violence
Ages 6-12 (Childhood)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities American Indian or Alaska Native
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
White
Settings School
Geographic Locations Urban
Tribal
Implementation History PeaceBuilders was first implemented in 1991 in Pima County, Arizona. Since then, it has been implemented in more than 1,450 sites with over 1 million students in 41 States, the District of Columbia, Saipan, and Canada.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations PeaceBuilders was originally developed for use in elementary schools. Versions of the curriculum are now offered for use in preschool and prekindergarten programs (PeaceBuilders for Young Children), middle and high schools (PeaceBuilders for Teens), and afterschool programs (PeaceBuilders PeaceBuilding Beyond School).

Some program materials, including materials for parents, are available in Spanish. A limited number of materials are available in other languages including Navajo, Khmer, Vietnamese, and Korean.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal

Quality of Research
Review Date: July 2013

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Embry, D. E., Powell, K. E., Flannery, D. J., Atha, H., & Vazsonyi, A. T. (1996). Peacebuilders: A theoretically driven, school-based model for early violence prevention. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 12(5), 91–100.  Pub Med icon

Flannery, D. J., Vazsonyi, A. T., Liau, A. K., Guo, S., Powell, K. E., Atha, H., et al. (2003). Initial behavior outcomes for the PeaceBuilders universal school-based violence prevention program. Developmental Psychology, 39(2), 292–308.  Pub Med icon

Krug, E. G., Dahlberg, L. L., Brener, N. D., Ryan, G. W., & Powell, K. E. (1997). The impact of an elementary school-based violence prevention program on visits to the school nurse. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 13(6), 459463.  Pub Med icon

Vazsonyi, A. T., Belliston, L. M., & Flannery, D. J. (2004). Evaluation of a school-based, universal violence prevention program: Low-, medium- and high-risk children. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 2(2), 185206.

Supplementary Materials

Brener, N. D., Krug, E. G. Dahlberg, L. L. & Powell, K. E. (1997). Nurses' logs as an evaluation tool for school-based violence prevention programs. Journal of School Health, 67(5), 171174.  Pub Med icon

Essential Checklist for a PeaceBuilding Classroom

PeaceBuilders Family Recruitment Letter

PeaceBuilders Revised Survey for K2

PeaceBuilders Survey for Teachers

PeaceBuilders Survey Grades 36

PeaceBuilding Planner

Project Approval Form: Request for Ethical Review of Activities Involving Human Subjects in Questionnaires, Interviews, Observations, Video/Audio Tapes, Etc.

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Social competence
Description of Measures Social competence was assessed using child self-reports and teacher reports of student behavior.

For grades K-2, a 6-item self-report measure was administered by research assistants via individual, face-to-face interviews with students. Items assessed sharing, helpfulness, saying "thank you," and saying "I'm sorry." Response options included "yes," "sometimes," or "no, not really."

For grades 3-5, a 16-item self-report instrument was administered by research assistants, who read questions aloud to the class; students recorded their answers on paper. Items assessed empathy, caring, helpfulness, and support of others over the past 2 weeks and were rated using a 3-point scale (1 = "no," 2 = "a little," 3 = "a lot"). Example items are "I did things to help other kids," "I smiled at others," and "I apologized to a grown-up at school."

Teacher reports were obtained using the 19-item short form of the Walker-McConnell (W-M) Scale of Social Competence and School Adjustment, elementary school version. Teachers rated their students (grades K-5) on a scale from 1 (never) to 5 (frequently), on three subscales:
  • School Adjustment: 7 items assessing adaptive social-behavioral competencies highly valued by teachers within classroom instructional contexts (e.g., "student attends to assigned tasks" and "produces work of acceptable quality given his or her skills")
  • Peer-Preferred Behaviors: 7 items reflecting peer values concerning forms of social behavior that govern peer dynamics and social relations within free-play settings (e.g., "invites peers to play" and "shares laughter with peers")
  • Teacher-Preferred Behaviors: 5 items reflecting teacher ratings of sensitivity, empathy, cooperation, self-control, and socially mature forms of behavior in peer relations (e.g., "can accept not getting his or her way" and "compromises with peers when a situation calls for it")
Teacher ratings for each subscale were summed to produce an overall social competence score.
Key Findings In a 2-year study, eight elementary schools were matched into pairs and randomly assigned to either an immediate or a delayed intervention condition. Schools in the immediate intervention condition began implementing PeaceBuilders in Year 1 and continued implementation in Year 2, for a total of 2 years of intervention exposure. Schools in the delayed intervention condition provided the usual school curriculum in Year 1 and began implementing the intervention in Year 2, for a total of 1 year of intervention exposure. Two assessments were conducted each year of the study: one in the fall (about 1 month into the semester) and another in the spring (near the end of the school year). Analyses controlled for gender and baseline levels of prosocial behavior/social competence. Findings included the following:
  • Grades K-2: Self-rated prosocial behavior did not differ by intervention condition at the end of Year 1. At both Year 2 assessments, however, students in immediate intervention schools self-reported more prosocial behavior compared with those in delayed intervention schools (p < .05 for each assessment). Students in immediate intervention schools also had higher teacher ratings of social competence relative to those in delayed intervention schools at the end of Year 1 and at both Year 2 assessments (p < .001 for each assessment).
  • Grades 3-5: Self-reports indicated negative results. At the end of Year 1 and end of Year 2, students in immediate intervention schools self-reported less prosocial behavior relative to students in delayed intervention schools (p < .05 for each assessment); no significant group differences were found at the beginning of Year 2. However, teacher reports showed positive results in Year 2. At both the beginning and end of Year 2, students in immediate intervention schools had higher teacher ratings of social competence relative to students in delayed intervention schools (p < .001 for both assessments).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.2 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Peace-building behavior
Description of Measures Students in grades K-2 reported their "peace-building" behavior (a generalized construct referring to positive behavior or actions that reflect the principles taught through the program) by responding either "yes" or "no" to 4 items such as "I helped build peace at school" and "I earned rewards for peace building." Students in grades 3-5 responded to 3 items: "I helped build peace at school," "I told other kids they were peace builders," and "I earned rewards for peace building." Responses were given on a 3-point scale ranging from "no" to "a lot."
Key Findings In a 2-year study, eight elementary schools were matched into pairs and randomly assigned to either an immediate or a delayed intervention condition. Schools in the immediate intervention condition began implementing PeaceBuilders in Year 1 and continued implementation in Year 2, for a total of 2 years of intervention exposure. Schools in the delayed intervention condition provided the usual school curriculum in Year 1 and began implementing the intervention in Year 2, for a total of 1 year of intervention exposure. Two assessments were conducted each year of the study: one in the fall (about 1 month into the semester) and another in the spring (near the end of the school year). Analyses controlled for gender and baseline levels of peace-building behavior. Findings included the following:
  • Grades K-2: Students in immediate intervention schools self-reported more peace-building behavior relative to students in delayed intervention schools at the end of Year 1 (p < .05) only; no significant differences were found by condition at either of the Year 2 assessments.
  • Grades 3-5: At the end of Year 1 (p < .001) and beginning of Year 2 (p < .01), students in immediate intervention schools self-reported more peace-building behavior relative to students in delayed intervention schools; no significant difference was found by condition at the end of Year 2.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.0 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: Aggressive and violent behavior
Description of Measures Teachers rated their students' (grades K-5) level of aggression over the past 2 months using an adapted version of the Aggressive Behavior subscale of Achenbach's (1991) Teacher Report Form. The measure included 25 items rated using a 3-point scale from 0 ("not true") to 2 "very true or often true"). Items assessed both physical and nonphysical aggressive behavior (e.g., "The child argues a lot," "The child gets in many fights," and "The child threatens people").

Actual incidents of aggression in schools were measured using data collected from school nurse logs. Analyses calculated the percentage difference in nurse visits between 2 school years: the year before the study began and Year 1 of the study (the first year of implementation for schools assigned to the immediate intervention condition). Using a standard protocol, researchers counted the weekly number of visits to the school nurse for all causes and the weekly number of visits for injuries only. To quantify fighting-related injuries, the researchers sampled every fourth week in the logs. Incidents were coded as follows. "Confirmed fighting" included all injuries for which a deliberate action was mentioned (e.g., "slapped," "punched," "pushed") or if another person was mentioned (e.g., "hit by John"). "Possible fighting" was used for entries without enough information to determine whether fighting had taken place (e.g., "hit in face"). "Nonfighting" was used for all other injuries, such as those noted as "bumped head on monkey bars" or "tripped and fell on ball." The weekly rate of visits per 1,000 students per day (1,000 student days) was calculated by school and data collection wave for all visits, visits for injuries only, and visits for noninjuries. The percentage difference between years was then calculated by school and data collection wave.
Key Findings In a 2-year study, eight elementary schools were matched into pairs and randomly assigned to either an immediate or a delayed intervention condition. Schools in the immediate intervention condition began implementing PeaceBuilders in Year 1 and continued implementation in Year 2, for a total of 2 years of intervention exposure. Schools in the delayed intervention condition provided the usual school curriculum in Year 1 and began implementing the intervention in Year 2, for a total of 1 year of intervention exposure. Two assessments were conducted each year of the study: one in the fall (about 1 month into the semester) and another in the spring (near the end of the school year). Analyses controlled for gender and baseline levels of aggression. Findings included the following:
  • Grades K-2: No significant differences in aggression were found by intervention condition.
  • Grades 3-5: Students in immediate intervention schools had lower teacher ratings of aggression than students in delayed intervention schools at the end of Year 1 (p < .01), beginning of Year 2 (p < .001), and end of Year 2 (p < .01).
  • Visits to the school nurse (all grades): After 1 year of program implementation, immediate intervention schools showed a greater reduction from the previous school year in visits to the school nurse compared with delayed intervention schools, which provided the usual school curriculum during the same period. Rates declined significantly for all visits (p < .001), visits for injuries only (p < .001), visits for injuries related to confirmed fighting (p = .004), and visits for nonfighting injuries (p < .0001).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.1 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 6-12 (Childhood) 51% Female
49% Male
55% Hispanic or Latino
26% White
14% American Indian or Alaska Native
4% Black or African American

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Social competence 3.1 3.2 2.8 3.3 3.5 3.5 3.2
2: Peace-building behavior 2.6 2.9 2.8 3.3 3.3 3.5 3.0
3: Aggressive and violent behavior 3.1 3.4 2.8 2.9 3.0 3.4 3.1

Study Strengths

The Walker-McConnell Scale of Social Competence and School Adjustment and the Aggressive Behavior subscale of Achenbach's Teacher Report Form are both well-established measures with high internal consistency, established stability, and substantial evidence of validity. The two measures developed for this study for students in grades 3-5 had items that loaded on a single factor with adequate to high internal consistency and face validity. The format for the school nurse logs was uniform across schools, and the data collectors used standardized protocols in extracting nurse visit data and conducting interviews with the school nurses. All training and coaching was conducted by the developer of the program, including a 1-hour orientation and half-day training workshop. At the end of Year 2, 96% of teachers rated implementation as extensive or moderate, with 80% using the materials on a daily or weekly basis. Project staff conducted school walkthrough observations at designated intervals for PeaceBuilders signage and other visible signs of program implementation and teacher practices. For child self-report instruments, use of research assistants to facilitate the collection of data resulted in few surveys with missing or incomplete data. Attrition was handled appropriately, and attrition rates were not statistically different by gender, grade, or intervention condition. Randomization occurred at the school level, and matched pairs of schools were comparable. The use of hierarchical linear modeling to analyze the social competence and peace-building behavior outcomes was appropriate given the longitudinal design and unequal group sizes. Sample size and power were adequate.

Study Weaknesses

The two measures developed for this study for grades K-2 had marginal internal consistency. There is no mention of a tested fidelity instrument or direct observation of curriculum delivery in the classrooms. There is some evidence that in Year 2 of the study, daily use of the intervention materials by teachers was greater in delayed intervention schools than in immediate intervention schools, suggesting that the use of intervention materials decreased in the second year of implementation among the latter group. Attrition was greater than 10% in some cases, although this is not uncommon in school-based research conducted in economically challenged communities. One school in the delayed intervention group failed to collect Year 1 baseline data. The overall sample size for confirmed fighting-related injuries was relatively small, since the number of these injuries did not exceed 10 per week.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: July 2013

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

PeacePartners. (n.d.). PeaceBuilders leadership guide. Long Beach, CA: Author.

PeacePartners. (n.d.). PeaceBuilders PeacePack: PeaceBuilding beyond school with CD-ROM. Long Beach, CA: Author.

PeacePartners. (n.d.). PeaceBuilders PeacePack with CD-ROM. Long Beach, CA: Author.

PeacePartners. (n.d.). PeaceBuilders support staff manual. Long Beach, CA: Author.

PeacePartners. (n.d.). PeaceBuilders table of contents & supporting documents. Long Beach, CA: Author.

Program Web site, http://www.peacebuilders.com

Other materials:

  • Assorted incentives (pencils, stickers, buttons, bookmarks) and apparel
  • PeaceBuilders pledge poster
  • PeaceBuilders principles poster, customizable banner, and school flag
  • PraiseNote/Apology pad
  • Recipes for Peace

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
3.9 4.0 3.7 3.8

Dissemination Strengths

Implementation manuals are detailed, well written, and organized around the components of the program. Each component is clearly defined, with recommended scripts, guidelines for action, and appropriate support materials for implementing in schools. Training is aligned with the implementation materials and is offered for multiple roles and levels. On-site coaches are available to assist new sites as they move through the implementation process. There are also a variety of ways for implementers to obtain support remotely. Licensing requirements and quality assurance procedures, including site observations to ensure fidelity to the model, are well developed and clearly articulated. Program materials and training include clear definitions of the elements that can be adapted to new sites without compromising the essential components of the intervention.

Dissemination Weaknesses

Some materials are extremely dense, with crowded pages and small print that make navigation difficult. Limited guidance or tools are provided to support evaluation of participant outcomes as a part of quality assurance.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
Initial site licensing fee [dollar amount to be provided by developer during summary approval] Yes
PeacePack (hardcover) $140 per teacher/staff member Yes, for elementary schools (K-6)
PeacePack for Young Children (hardcover) $110 per teacher/staff member Yes, for preschool and prekindergarten programs
PeacePack for Teens (hardcover) $110 per teacher/staff member Yes, for middle and high schools
PeacePack PeaceBuilding Beyond School (hardcover) $110 per teacher/staff member Yes, for afterschool programs
Recipes for Peace $55 each No
Leadership Guide $90 per member of the site's leadership team Yes
Support Staff Manual $25 per staff member Yes
Essentials Workbook $10 per teacher/staff member Yes
PraiseNote/Apology pads (K-6 version) $11 per pack of 6, or $22 per pack of 13 Yes (one pad per teacher/staff member)
Pledge poster $7 each Yes
Graphic organizer posters $33 per set of 7 No
PeaceBuilders customizable banner $220 per site Yes
PeaceBuilders flag $140 each No
PeaceBuilders principles T-shirt for adults and children $10 each No
PeaceBuilders polo shirt for site staff $35 each No
Lanyards $3 each No
Pencils $45 per pack of 144 No
Pens $2 each No
Bookmarks $27 per pack of 60 No
Buttons $0.50 each No
Stickers $4 per pack of 48 No
4-hour, on-site PeaceBuilders Essentials Training $2,500 for up to 40 participants, plus travel expenses Yes
Other on-site trainings:
  • 2-hour New Activities Training
  • 2-hour New Activities II Training
  • 3-hour New Activities & Solution Building Training
  • 2- or 3-hour Essentials for PeaceCoaches Training
  • 2-hour PeaceBuilders for Support Staff Training
  • 2-hour PeaceBuilders for Parents Training
  • $625 per hour, plus travel expenses, for up to 40 participants
  • Second trainer is required for 41 or more participants, at an additional cost of $500 plus travel expenses
No
On-site coaching
  • $250 for 1 hour
  • $375 for 2 hours
  • $500 for 3 hours
  • $1,350 for 7 hours
No
Remote coaching
  • $400 for 10 hours
  • $800 for 20 hours
No

Additional Information

Some implementation materials may be provided during training and included in the training fee; contact the developer for more information. All PeacePacks are also available in electronic format (CD-ROM) for $85.

Replications

No replications were identified by the developer.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
Michelle A. Molina
(877) 473-2236
mmolina@peacebuilders.com

To learn more about research, contact:
Dennis D. Embry, Ph.D.
(520) 299-6770
dde@paxis.org

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.

Web Site(s):