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Practice Profile

School-Based Conflict Resolution Education

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:

Promising - One Meta-Analysis Juvenile Problem & At-Risk Behaviors - Multiple juvenile problem/at-risk behaviors

Practice Description

Practice Goals/Target Population
Conflict resolution education (CRE) programs target incidences of opposition or disputes between youths (such as fights over possessions or verbal arguments), with the intention of affecting long-term prosocial behaviors of students in grades K–12. The primary goal of CRE programs is to facilitate constructive resolution of interpersonal conflicts between students and reduce related antisocial behaviors. CRE programs fall within the positive youth development family of programs that are designed to develop youth resiliency and capacity building.
Practice Activities
School-based CRE programs focus on the nature of the conflict between students and provide options for responding. Such options are constructive self-management, communication, social perspective-taking, cooperative interpersonal problem- solving, promoting respect, and other related concepts. CRE program activities include facilitation, modeling, and guided practice of skills and strategies to manage conflict and develop social cognitive competence.
There are typically three formats of delivery for CRE programs. Direct skills instruction programs train students on CRE topics and rehearse conflict resolution strategies. Peer mediation programs train student-peer mediators in the specific CRE program to help their peers resolve disputes through a prescribed process. Embedded curriculum integrates CRE components into traditional school curricula and lesson plans

Meta-Analysis Outcomes

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Promising - One Meta-Analysis Juvenile Problem & At-Risk Behaviors - Multiple juvenile problem/at-risk behaviors
Garrard and Lipsey (2007) examined the results from 36 studies on conflict resolution education (CRE) programs and found that students who received CRE reported significantly fewer antisocial behaviors than students in the control group (effect size=0.26). When converted into an odds ratio, this means that the proportion of students involved in fights dropped nearly one third as a result of CRE programs (a reduction in proportion from 0.14 to 0.095). Similarly, as a result of CRE, the proportion of students being bullied dropped from 28 percent to 20 percent, and the proportion of students being called hate-related words dropped from 11 percent to 7.5 percent.
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Meta-Analysis Methodology

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Meta-Analysis Snapshot
 Literature Coverage DatesNumber of StudiesNumber of Study Participants
Meta-Analysis 11970 - 2006364971

Meta-Analysis 1
Garrard and Lipsey (2007) conducted a meta-analysis to examine the effectiveness of conflict resolution education (CRE) programs on reducing antisocial behaviors of K–12 students. A comprehensive search of the literature was conducted to locate studies, published and unpublished, between 1960 and 2006. To be included, studies had to have been evaluations of CRE programs; delivered in U.S. schools with grades K–12; used a research design with a control group; provided information about the CRE program group and control group at the baseline (when random assignment was not possible); and assessed antisocial behavior outcomes. A total of 36 studies were identified and fit the criteria for inclusion. The final sample comprised 4,971 student participants between the ages of 5 and 17. Nineteen studies included students aged 10 to 13, 11 studies included students aged 14 to 17, and 6 studies included students aged 5 to 9. The most common CRE program type was peer mediation (17 studies), followed by direct skills instruction (16 studies), and infused curriculum (3 studies).

The outcome of interest was antisocial behaviors, which was measured in a variety of ways across the studies, including scales completed by adults or youths, student self-ratings, research ratings, teacher ratings, and reported behaviors such as school disciplinary events. The standardized mean difference effect size, with a 95 percent confidence interval, was used to assess program impact. A random effects analysis was conducted, and the effect size was weighted by the inverse of sampling error variance. Effect sizes were adjusted for outliers and small sample sizes.
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There is no cost information available for this practice.
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Other Information

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Garrard and Lipsey (2007) included additional tests—called moderator analyses—to see whether any factors, such as student variables, strengthened the likelihood that conflict resolution education (CRE) programs improved outcomes. They found that significantly larger effect sizes were reported for students aged 14 to 17 (effect size=0.53), while smaller effect sizes were reported for students aged 6 to 9 (effect size=0.06)
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Evidence-Base (Meta-Analyses Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the practice profile:

Meta-Analysis 1
Garrard, Wendy M., and Mark W. Lipsey. 2007. "Conflict Resolution Education and Antisocial Behavior in U. S. Schools: A Meta-Analysis." Conflict Resolution Quarterly 25(1):9–38.
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Related Programs

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Following are programs that are related to this practice:

The Leadership Program’s Violence Prevention Project Promising - One study
A school-based prevention program, targeting 12 and 16 year olds, designed to prevent violence by enhancing conflict-resolution skills. The program is rated Promising. At follow-up, participants were using more pro-social verbal skills and had positive growth rates of peer support. Students not receiving the curriculum grew more accepting of aggression over time, while program participants maintained aggression tolerance levels.

Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RIPP) Promising - One study
A school-based program designed to provide conflict-resolution strategies and skills to prevent violence to students in middle and junior high schools. The program is rated Promising. The experiment group had less disciplinary code violations related to violence in the 8th grade, showed significantly higher approval of nonviolence, and lower aggression at the 9-month follow-up.

SMART Team No Effects - One study
A multimedia software program that engages young teenagers in learning new skills to resolve conflicts and avoid violence. The program is rated No Effects. There were no significant differences in aggressive behavior between the treatment and control group.

Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (New York City) Promising - One study
A universal, school-based intervention for elementary students that promotes violence prevention as well as positive social and emotional learning. The program is rated Promising. The evaluation found higher levels of classroom instruction improved children's social-cognitive processes, reduced behavioral issues and decreased teacher's perceptions of youth problem behavior.

The Peacemakers Program Promising - One study
A school-based violence reduction intervention for grades 4 through 8. The program’s primary objectives were to prevent violence and improve interpersonal behavior among youth. The program is rated Promising. There was a significant decrease in self-reported measures of aggression; an increase in psychosocial skills; a decrease in disciplinary incidents; less involvement in conflict mediation; and fewer suspensions for violent behavior compared with the control group.

Peers Making Peace Promising - One study
A peer-mediation program designed to handle conflicts both in and out of school and to help maintain drug-free schools. The program is rated Promising. The treatment group had fewer assaults, expulsions, discipline referrals, absences, a greater improvement in self-efficacy, and significantly improved in academic performance.

Teaching Students to Be Peacemakers Promising - More than one study
A school-based conflict resolution program aimed at teaching students to manage their conflicts through negotiation and mediation. The Program is rated Promising. Across all three studies, the program was found to increase students’ conflict resolution skills through their ability to practice both negotiation and mediation strategies.
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Practice Snapshot

Age: 5 - 17

Gender: Both

Settings: School

Practice Type: Conflict Resolution/Interpersonal Skills, School/Classroom Environment

Unit of Analysis: Persons