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Intervention Summary

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Second Step

Second Step is a classroom-based social-skills program for children 4 to 14 years of age that teaches socioemotional skills aimed at reducing impulsive and aggressive behavior while increasing social competence. The program builds on cognitive behavioral intervention models integrated with social learning theory, empathy research, and social information-processing theories. The program consists of in-school curricula, parent training, and skill development. Second Step teaches children to identify and understand their own and others' emotions, reduce impulsiveness and choose positive goals, and manage their emotional reactions and decisionmaking process when emotionally aroused. The curriculum is divided into two age groups: preschool through 5th grade (with 20 to 25 lessons per year) and 6th through 9th grade (with 15 lessons in year 1 and 8 lessons in the following 2 years). Each curriculum contains five teaching kits that build sequentially and cover empathy, impulse control, and anger management in developmentally and age-appropriate ways. Group decisionmaking, modeling, coaching, and practice are demonstrated in the Second Step lessons using interpersonal situations presented in photos or video format.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Substance abuse prevention
Outcomes Review Date: December 2006
1: Social competence and prosocial behavior
2: Incidence of negative, aggressive, or antisocial behaviors
Outcome Categories Social functioning
Violence
Ages 6-12 (Childhood)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities American Indian or Alaska Native
Asian
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
White
Settings School
Geographic Locations Urban
Suburban
Rural and/or frontier
Implementation History An estimated 32,000 schools across the United States have implemented Second Step since the program's inception in 1987. Since 2004, nearly 8 million students and 2 million adults have participated in the Second Step program.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: No
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations No population- or culture-specific adaptations of the intervention were identified by the developer.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal

Quality of Research
Review Date: December 2006

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

Grossman, D. C., Neckerman, H. J., Koepsell, T. D., Liu, P. V., Asher, K. N., Beland, K., et al. (1997). Effectiveness of a violence prevention curriculum among children in elementary school: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 277(20), 1605-1611.  Pub Med icon

Study 2

Frey, K. S., Nolen, S. B., Van Schoiack-Edstrom, L., & Hirschstein, M. K. (2005). Effect of a school-based social-emotional competence program: Linking children's goals, attributions, and behavior. Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 171-200.

Study 3

Taub, J. (2001). Evaluation of the Second Step violence prevention program at a rural elementary school. School Psychology Review, 31(2), 186-200.

Supplementary Materials

Frey, K. S., Hirchstein, M. K., & Guzzo, B. A. (2000). Second Step: Preventing aggression by promoting social competence. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 8(2), 102-112.

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Social competence and prosocial behavior
Description of Measures The incidence of prosocial behaviors or social competence was measured using teacher, parent, and child surveys and behavioral observations. The surveys used were the School Social Behavior Scales (SSBS), the Achenbach Teacher Report Form (TRF), the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), and the Parent-Child Rating Scale (P-CRS).
Key Findings In one study, Second Step participants demonstrated higher average rates of prosocial behavior ("engages appropriately with peers," "follows directions from adults") compared with similar students who did not receive the intervention (p < .01 and p < .001, respectively).

Another evaluation found that students who participated in the Second Step program demonstrated higher rates of prosocial behavior in classrooms, on playgrounds, and in cafeterias relative to students in the control group, and these effects continued at least 2 weeks after the intervention (p < .05).

A third evaluation reported no statistically significant benefits in prosocial behavior.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2, Study 3
Study Designs Experimental, Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.4 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Incidence of negative, aggressive, or antisocial behaviors
Description of Measures The incidence of negative, aggressive, or antisocial behaviors was measured using teacher, parent, and child surveys and behavioral observations. The surveys used were the School Social Behavior Scales (SSBS), the Achenbach Teacher Report Form (TRF), the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), and the Parent-Child Rating Scale (P-CRS).
Key Findings Teachers reported fewer antisocial behaviors among Second Step participants compared with similar students who did not receive the intervention (p < .001), primarily as a result of first-year implementation of the program. The change was greatest among students who had high baseline ratings for antisocial behavior.

Another evaluation found lower rates of physically antisocial behavior in playground and cafeteria settings at least 2 weeks after the intervention (p = .03). Physical aggression in the classroom setting continued to be reduced 6 months after the intervention (p = .03).

A third evaluation found that teacher-reported antisocial behavior decreased at a school using Second Step while it increased at a similar school without the intervention (p < .05).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2, Study 3
Study Designs Experimental, Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 2.4 (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) 54% Male
46% Female
79% White
11% Asian
5% Black or African American
4% Hispanic or Latino
1% American Indian or Alaska Native
Study 2 6-12 (Childhood) 51.8% Male
48.2% Female
Data not reported/available
Study 3 6-12 (Childhood) Data not reported/available Data not reported/available

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 and prosocial behavior 2.3 2.5 2.0 2.0 2.3 3.3 2.4
2: Incidence of negative, aggressive, or antisocial behaviors 2.3 2.5 2.0 2.0 2.3 3.3 2.4

Study Strengths

The strengths of the Second Step program include the combined use of systemic direct observation and self-report data in longitudinal designs with multiple methods of data collection. Measures are known in the field and have appropriate psychometric properties, and appropriate analyses were utilized.

Study Weaknesses

Attrition was high, and a large number of missing data was acknowledged in one of the studies. The impact of culture, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity was unclear, and these may be potential confounds. One of the studies did not employ a true randomized study design.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: December 2006

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.

Borch, P. (2002). Second Step staff training video: Grades 1-5 [VHS]. Seattle, WA: Committee for Children.

Borch, P. (2002). Second Step staff training video: Middle school/junior high [VHS]. Seattle, WA: Committee for Children.

Borch, P. (2002). Second Step staff training video: Preschool/kindergarten [VHS]. Seattle, WA: Committee for Children.

Committee for Children. (1997). Second Step middle school/junior high: Level 1 foundation lessons. Seattle, WA: Author.

Committee for Children. (1997). Second Step middle school/junior high: Level 2 skill-building lessons. Seattle, WA: Author.

Committee for Children. (1997). Second Step middle school/junior high: Level 3 skill-building lessons. Seattle, WA: Author.

Committee for Children. (2002). Second Step grade 1 curriculum (3rd ed.). Seattle, WA: Author.

Committee for Children. (2002). Second Step grade 2 curriculum (3rd ed.). Seattle, WA: Author.

Committee for Children. (2002). Second Step grade 3 curriculum (3rd ed.). Seattle, WA: Author.

Committee for Children. (2002). Second Step grade 4 curriculum (3rd ed.). Seattle, WA: Author.

Committee for Children. (2002). Second Step grade 5 curriculum (3rd ed.). Seattle, WA: Author.

Committee for Children. (2002). Second Step preschool/kindergarten curriculum (3rd ed.). Seattle, WA: Author.

Committee for Children. (2002). Second Step preschool/kindergarten--Grade 9 trainer's manual (3rd ed.). Seattle, WA: Author.

Committee for Children. (2002). Second Step program preview [CD-ROM]. Seattle, WA: Author.

Committee for Children. (n.d.). Second Step: Evaluating the Second Step program--Tools and recommendations [Handout]. Seattle, WA: Author.

Committee for Children. (n.d.). Second Step: Steps for successful implementation in schools [Handout]. Seattle, WA: Author.

Second Step Fall 2006 Training Catalog

Second Step Middle School Catalog and Order Form

Second Step Preschool/Kindergarten--Grade 5 Catalog and Order Form

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
4.0 4.0 3.5 3.8

Dissemination Strengths

The implementation materials for this program are very impressive. Goals and expected outcomes are clearly defined. Materials are colorful, well organized, and complete. Sessions are well outlined for easy implementation with clear instructions and guidance for the teacher/instructor. Video materials are of high quality and include scenarios for discussion that complement the print curriculum. Materials are culturally sensitive and inclusive. The training videos and teacher's guides provide comprehensive and detailed instructions for instructors and administrators. Administrator guides explain how to incorporate the program into the school community and integrate it with the grade-level curriculum. Specific guidance is given for evaluating the impact of the program, including options for process and outcome evaluations.

Dissemination Weaknesses

Program evaluation and quality assurance would be enhanced if authors provided a method for quantifying student disciplinary events related to anger management.

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
Pre-K DVD kit $289 each Yes
Grades 1-5 kits $189 each Yes
Level 1 foundation lessons (middle school) $299 per set Yes
Level 2 skill-building lessons (middle school) $199 per set Yes
Level 3 skill-building lessons (middle school) $299 per set Yes
Family Guide $369 each Yes
Family Guide and pre-K DVD kit $619 each Yes
Family overview video $39 or $59 depending on format Yes
2-day training at a regional location $525 per person (pre-K through middle school) No
2-day, on-site training $7,500 for up to 25 participants (pre-K through middle school) No
1-day, on-site training $4,000 for up to 40 participants (pre-K through middle school) No
1-day, on-site Family Guide facilitator training $4,000 for up to 40 participants (pre-K through grade 5) No
Limited telephone/email technical assistance Free No
On-site implementation support consultation $1,500 No
Program implementation and outcome assessment tools Free No
Replications

Selected citations are presented below. An asterisk indicates that the document was reviewed for Quality of Research.

Schick, A., & Cierpka, M. (2005). Faustlos: Evaluation of a curriculum to prevent violence in elementary schools. Applied and Preventive Psychology, 11, 157-165.

Van Schoiack-Edstrom, L., Frey, K. S., & Beland, K. (2002). Changing adolescents' attitudes about relational and physical aggression: An early evaluation of a school-based intervention. School Psychology Review, 31, 201-216.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
Sally Vilardi
(206) 438-6501
svilardi@cfchildren.org

To learn more about research, contact:
Sherry Catron Burke
(206) 438-6327
sburke@cfchildren.org

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

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