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Model Programs Guide Literature Review: Conflict Resolution/Interpersonal Skills

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2011
5 pages
Based on a literature review, this paper discusses the theoretical foundation and outcome evidence for programs designed to teach children and youth constructive conflict-resolution behaviors and interpersonal skills.
Conflict-resolution education programs aim to facilitate constructive resolution of interpersonal conflicts. Interpersonal-skills training programs address the development of a wide range of skills that promote constructive problemsolving, decision making, communication skills, and resistance skills regarding substance abuse. Based on the theory of behavioral change being used, these programs may focus on the development of individual behaviors, interpersonal relations, the physical and social environment (including social norms), or combinations of these objectives. Cognitive-behavioral techniques are the most widely studied treatment for anger and aggression in youth. Types of programs include universal programs that are delivered to children and youth in school, youth social/recreational programs, and parent-training classes. More targeted programs include those for children and youth in specific circumstances, such as families experiencing divorce and families with a non-compliant child. The large number of meta-analyses of evaluations of conflict-resolution and interpersonal-skills programs indicate that programs based in cognitive-behavioral and skills-based approaches have had the greatest impact on participants' attitudes and behaviors. School-based programs generally have positive effects, whether they are delivered to all students or to targeted students with aggressive or disruptive behaviors. Programs deemed effective were associated with decreased violent behaviors and an increase in socially normative attitudes and behaviors in interactions with others. This paper presents some examples of evaluation results for several specific conflict-resolution and interpersonal-skills programs. 14 references

Date Published: February 1, 2011