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
    • "An important key to the success of any social skilling program is its ability to motivate students to recognise and abandon old habits and use more proactive and prosocial skills. To engender a student's emotional commitment, social skilling programs need to incorporate motivational techniques such as goal setting; positive feedback from teachers, parents, and peers; and be delivered in peer group settings to build a positive peer environment where participants are supported and positive behaviours are reinforced by others (Durlak, Weissberg, & Pachan, 2010). The approach taken in the TLC enabled all of these features. "

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    • "Social and emotional skills are the cornerstone to a broad range of academic outcomes across the developmental span [6] [7] and labor market outcomes [8]. Children with well-developed social and emotional skills are able to calm themselves when angry, make friends, resolve conflicts respectfully, and make ethical and safe choices. "
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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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