A Meta-Analysis of After-School Programs That Seek to Promote Personal and Social Skills in Children and Adolescents

Department of Psychology, Loyola University Chicago, 6525 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60626, USA.
American Journal of Community Psychology (Impact Factor: 1.74). 03/2010; 45(3-4):294-309. DOI: 10.1007/s10464-010-9300-6
Source: PubMed


A meta-analysis of after-school programs that seek to enhance the personal and social skills of children and adolescents indicated that, compared to controls, participants demonstrated significant increases in their self-perceptions and bonding to school, positive social behaviors, school grades and levels of academic achievement, and significant reductions in problem behaviors. The presence of four recommended practices associated with previously effective skill training (SAFE: sequenced, active, focused, and explicit) moderated several program outcomes. One important implication of current findings is that ASPs should contain components to foster the personal and social skills of youth because youth can benefit in multiple ways if these components are offered. The second implication is that further research is warranted on identifying program characteristics that can help us understand why some programs are more successful than others.

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Available from: Joseph A Durlak,
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    • "Recreational services have followed thereafter and, in the Scandinavian welfare system where an expanding proportion of children are using recreational services, childhood is more and more becoming an " institutionalised " experience (Rasmussen 2004). On a scientific level, institutional issues regarding children's free time revolve around four main aspects: (1) children's rights in reference to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations General Assembly 1989), with the issues of accessibility to services and infrastructures, or the freedom of choice and free disposition of one's own free time, and also to the right to play; (2) public health priorities (Dyment 2013; World Health Organization (WHO) 2014), and more precisely the obesity epidemic (WHO); (3) socio-educational challenges (Durlak et al. 2010; Guèvremont et al. 2014), such as school readiness, equity in school achievement, or language acquisition; and (4) public investments , through the setting of priorities. Where the first aspect, relating to children's rights, deals with the present child and his current wellbeing, the three other aspects refer to what Mollo-Bouvier (1994) and Strandell (2013) have associated with investments in human capital. "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines recreational activities in children’s free time, as a component of their wellbeing in a socio-ecological framework. Data comprise semi-structured interviews, conducted with 50 parents and 33 school professionals, within four contrasted areas of the Brussels-Capital Region—with regard to their economic affluence and availability of green areas. Families’ perspectives and practices in terms of children’s recreational activities are presented in relation to contextual (availability of parks and playgrounds; access to recreational services) and individual factors (families’ socioeconomic and cultural profiles). They are then compared with the perspectives of school professionals. Concerning families, our results primarily show that all families reported using parks and playgrounds with their children. Besides, if many experienced some barriers to access recreational activities, their perspectives on the benefits of such services varied widely. Three main profiles of families, regarding their use and perception of recreational activities, were identified: users, involuntary non-users, and voluntary non-users. These perspectives were only partly similar to those of school professionals. Finally, recreational activities are discussed in relation to some major macro-level issues, such as social inequalities, accessibility to services, choice, as well as public policies in relation to children’s free time.
    12/2015; 9(1). DOI:10.1186/s40723-015-0013-z
    • "There is a range of evidence on the influences of demographic variables and implementation quality on program effectiveness. Therefore, standard implementation models available, such as SAFE training practices (Durlak et al., 2010), can prove useful. Ultimately, when combining the potential for adverse program effects with a wide range of possible participant and implementation influences, a rigorous and robust evaluation is critical. "
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    ABSTRACT: A randomized controlled trial was used to evaluate the effects of a prosocial behavior after-school program called Mate-Tricks for 9- and 10-year-old children and their parents living in an area of significant socioeconomic disadvantage. The children were randomly assigned to an intervention (n=220) or a control group (n=198). Children were compared on measures of prosocial behavior, antisocial behavior, and related outcome measures. The trial found adverse effects on four outcomes among the intervention group compared to the control group: antisocial behavior increased on two different measures (d=0.20) and (d=0.18), childreported liberal parenting increased (d=0.16), and child reported authoritarian parenting also increased (d=0.20). In addition, parental participation was significantly associated with several program outcomes. It was concluded, that group based after-school behavior programs may have the potential to cause iatrogenic effects and must be designed, piloted, evaluated and implemented with a high degree of care.
    The Elementary School Journal 08/2015; 116(1):000-000. DOI:10.1086/683102 · 1.17 Impact Factor
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    • "Perhaps, it is not unsupervised time with peers, per se, but the lack of organized activities that is linked to substance use. Organized activities, in contrast, is an OST context that theorists [8] [9] have identified as promoting positive youth development. Critical aspects of organized activities such as sports, arts, and community service clubs are opportunities for enrichment and challenge, supportive relationships with adult leaders, positive peer networks, and a chance for choice and voice [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: High levels of adolescent substance use are linked to lower academic achievement, reduced schooling, and delinquency. We assess four types of out-of-school time (OST) contexts-unsupervised time with peers, sports, organized activities, and paid employment-in relation to tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use at the end of high school. Other research has examined these OST contexts in isolation, limiting efforts to disentangle potentially confounded relations. Longitudinal data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (N = 766) examined associations between different OST contexts during high school and substance use at the end of high school. Unsupervised time with peers increased the odds of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use, whereas sports increased the odds of alcohol use and decreased the odds of marijuana use. Paid employment increased the odds of tobacco and alcohol use. Unsupervised time with peers predicted increased amounts of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use, whereas sports predicted decreased amounts of tobacco and marijuana use and increased amounts of alcohol use at the end of high school. Although unsupervised time with peers, sports, and paid employment were differentially linked to the odds of substance use, only unsupervised time with peers and sports were significantly associated with the amounts of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use at the end of high school. These findings underscore the value of considering OST contexts in relation to strategies to promote adolescent health. Reducing unsupervised time with peers and increasing sports participation may have positive impacts on reducing substance use. Copyright © 2015 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Adolescent Health 08/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.07.003 · 3.61 Impact Factor
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