National Institute of Justice National Institute of Justice. Research. Development. Evaluation. Office of Justice Programs
Crime Solutions.gov
Home  |  Help  |  Contact Us  |  Site Map   |  Glossary
Reliable Research. Real Results.
Additional Resources:

Program Profile: Aban Aya Youth Project

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on June 13, 2011

Program Summary

A school- and community-based program developed specifically for African American youth to avoid conflict and reduce drug/alcohol use. The program is rated Promising. Boys receiving one of the treatment conditions showed less of an increase in provoking behavior, school delinquency, substance use, and early sexual activity/risky sexual activity than those receiving the control condition. There were significant program effects for all problem behaviors for boys receiving community intervention.

Program Description

Program Goals
Aban Aya Youth Project (Aban Aya) is a program developed specifically for African American youth that comprises two interrelated components: a social development curriculum (SDC) that is administered in classrooms by teachers and a school–community intervention (SCI), which enhances the SDC classroom component by bringing in the surrounding community. Aban Aya seeks to reduce and prevent five problem behaviors for African American youth:

 

·         Violence

·         Provoking behavior

·         Substance use

·         School delinquency

·         Early sexual activity/risky sexual activity

 

Students are taught how to resolve conflicts in a nonviolent manner and refusal skills to avoid using drugs and alcohol. The curriculum promotes the values of abstinence but also includes safe sex practices to reach out to youth who may already be sexually active. These problem behaviors are addressed while emphasizing self-esteem and cultural pride, and strengthening family and community ties. Prior research suggests that these cultural elements are important when working with African American youths. The program name comes from the Akan language, spoken in Ghana, where “Aban” means “fence” and is symbolic of double/social protection, and “Aya” means “an unfurling fern,” symbolizing self-determination.

Target Population/Eligibility
The Aban Aya Youth Project was specifically designed for African American youth. It is suitable for males in middle school or between the ages of 10 and 14.

Program Activities
The Afrocentric SDC is administered in schools over the span of 4 years, starting in the fifth grade and ending in eighth grade. The lessons are classroom based and last approximately 40–45 minutes each. Lessons vary from year to year, both in number and in content, but focus on teaching substance abuse refusal skills, conflict resolution, abstinence, and sex education.

The more comprehensive intervention component, the SCI, enhances the SDC classroom intervention by providing community empowerment sections. These include parent support programs, school staff and schoolwide youth support programs, and an overarching community program to build connections between parents, schools, local businesses, and agencies. The parental support program reinforces skills learned in the classroom and works on child–parent communication. These efforts are part of getting all interested parties involved and working toward the same common goal of raising healthy children.

 

Program Theory/Key Personnel
The Aban Aya Youth Project was built by taking elements from previously existing programs and blending them with newly developed, Afrocentric segments. Course materials and lesson plans were either adapted from existing prevention programs or newly created. The SDC component relies largely on cognitive­–behavioral skills and existing research on risk and protective factors. The SCI component engages all stakeholders in the community, from parents to local businesses, in an effort to promote sustainability of the classroom curriculum and create a sense of common ownership for youth involved in the program.

Evaluation Outcomes

top border

Study 1

Overall

Flay and colleagues (2004) found no significant program effects of the Aban Aya Youth Project (Aban Aya) for girls. As such, only program effects for boys are reported. Across all conditions, including the control health enhancement curriculum (HEC), researchers found an increase in problem behaviors. However, boys receiving one of the treatment conditions showed less of an increase in these behaviors than boys receiving the control condition: There were significant program effects for all problem behaviors for boys receiving Aban Aya’s school–community intervention (SCI). There were marginal effects for all problem behaviors for boys receiving the Aban Aya social development curriculum (SDC).

 

Violence

At baseline, there was a significant difference between the SDC intervention group and the SCI group. Boys scheduled to receive the SCI engaged in more violence than boys scheduled to receive the SDC intervention. At follow-up, violence increased for all groups, but the boys receiving SDC and SCI showed less of an increase in violence compared to the control condition. Specifically, the increased violence of the SDC group was 35 percent lower than the control condition, while the SCI was 47 percent lower.

 

Provoking Behavior
At follow-up, provoking behavior increased for all groups, but the boys receiving SDC and SCI showed less of an increase in provoking behavior compared to the control condition: The increased provoking behavior of the SDC group was 41 percent lower than that of the control condition, while the SCI was 59 percent lower.

 

School Delinquency

At follow-up, school delinquency increased for all groups, but the boys receiving SDC and SCI showed less of an increase in school delinquency compared to the control condition. Specifically, the increased school delinquency of the SDC group was 31 percent lower compared to that of the control condition; the SCI was 66 percent lower.

 

Substance Use

At follow-up, substance use increased for all groups, but the boys receiving SDC and SCI showed less of an increase in substance use compared to the control condition. The increased substance use of the SDC group was 32 percent lower compared to the substance use of the control condition; the SCI was 34 percent lower.

 

Early Sexual Activity/Risky Sexual Activity

At follow-up, early sexual activity increased for all groups, but the boys receiving SDC and SCI showed less of an increase in early sexual activity compared to the control condition. Specifically, the increased sexual activity of the SDC group was 44 percent lower than the control condition, while the SCI was 65 percent lower. The relative improvement in the rate of condom use was 95 percent for SDC boys and 165 percent for SCI boys. That is, boys in the intervention used condoms much more than boys in the control condition.

 

SCI Versus SDC Intervention
Additional analysis revealed that for all problem behaviors, boys receiving SCI benefited more than boys receiving the SDC intervention. They demonstrated less of an increase in problem behaviors. Only one of these results was significant, however: SCI boys showed less of an increase in school delinquency compared to SDC boys.

bottom border

Evaluation Methodology

top border

Study 1
Flay and colleagues (2004) evaluated the Aban Aya Youth Project (Aban Aya) with fifth grade students in 12 schools across the Chicago metropolitan area. Two different components of the intervention were evaluated; the social development curriculum (SDC) and the school–community intervention (SCI). Both components of the intervention were compared against a control condition. The control condition, or health enhancement curriculum (HEC), had the same number of lessons and taught similar skills as the intervention conditions but focused on promoting healthy behaviors related to nutrition, physical activity, and general health care.

The 12 schools included in this study had to have a total student population greater 500 and comprising more than 80 percent African American students and less than 10 percent Latino or Hispanic students. In addition, the selected school must not have had any special status (i.e., magnet or academic center). Schools that met these criteria were then ranked on student grades, enrollment, attendance, truancy, mobility, family income, and achievement scores to determine low- and high-risk students. From this ranking, a randomized block design was used so that each of the two intervention conditions and the one control condition had two high-risk, inner-city schools, one moderate-risk inner-city school, and one moderate-risk, near-suburban school. This resulted in four schools receiving the SDC intervention, four schools receiving the SCI, and four control schools receiving HEC.


Interventions were administered by program staff and supported by classroom teachers. Both program staff and classroom teachers went through training covering the Aban Aya curriculum and lessons in order to keep program implementation consistent. Outcome measure surveys were proctored by program staff and data collection occurred at the end of each grade year, making for a total of four data points.

Survey completion rates were at a high of 93.2 percent at baseline and fluctuated between 89.5 percent and 92.7 percent for the other three waves of data collection. The analysis sample included 1,153 students with one or more waves of data. This final sample was 49.5 percent male. Approximately 47 percent lived in two-parent households, and 77 percent received federally subsidized school lunches.

Hierarchical models that accommodate nested observations (times within subjects, subjects within schools) and missing data were used to determine the impact of Aban Aya on the five behaviors of interest. Mixed models were used for continuous outcomes (violence, provoking behavior, and school delinquency) and generalized estimating equations for ordinal outcomes (substance use, sexual activity/risky sexual behavior).

bottom border

Cost

top border
The cost for the four-year curriculum is $820 for a hard copy and $425 for a digitized copy. Training is required for implementing the Aban Aya Youth Project. For a 1-day training session with materials, the cost is $5,000 with travel expenses included. Subsequent technical support is available to those who receive training, at $150 an hour. For more information, please see the Aban Aya Youth Project site at http://www.socio.com/.
bottom border

Implementation Information

top border
Training is required for implementing the Aban Aya Youth Project. The training provides an opportunity for instructors to enhance their knowledge of the prevention conceptual framework used to develop the curricula and increase their competence in the instruction of the cognitive–behavioral skills that are taught in the curricula.
bottom border

Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

top border
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1

Flay, Brian R., Sally Graumlich, Eisuke Segawa, James L. Burns, Michelle Y. Holliday. 2004. “Effects of 2 Prevention Programs on High-Risk Behaviors Among African American Youth.” Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 158:377–84.


bottom border

Additional References

top border
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Liu C. Li, Brian R. Flay, Aban Aya Investigators. 2009. “Evaluating Mediation in Longitudinal Multivariate Data: Mediation Effects for the Aban Aya Youth Project Drug Prevention Program.” Prevention Science 10:197­–207.

Segawa, Eisuke, Job E. Ngwe, Yanhong Li, Brian R. Flay, and Aban Aya Coinvestigators. 2005. “Evaluation of the Effects of the Aban Aya Youth Project in Reducing Violence Among African American Adolescent Males Using Latent Class Growth Mixture Modeling Techniques.” Evaluation Review 29:128–47.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2394722/pdf/nihms48885.pdf/

Sociometrics Corporation. 2011. “Aban Aya Youth Project.” Accessed March 2011.
http://www.socio.com/passt24.php/
bottom border

Related Practices

top border
Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

Targeted Truancy Interventions
These interventions are designed to increase attendance for elementary and secondary school students with chronic attendance problems. The practice is rated Effective for improving attendance.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Effective - More than one Meta-Analysis Education - Attendance/truancy



School-Based Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Programs
Designed to foster the development of five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective, and behavioral competencies, in order to provide a foundation for better adjustment and academic performance in students, which can result in more positive social behaviors, fewer conduct problems, and less emotional distress. The practice was rated Effective in reducing students’ conduct problems and emotional stress.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Juvenile Problem & At-Risk Behaviors - Multiple juvenile problem/at-risk behaviors
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Mental Health & Behavioral Health - Internalizing behavior



Universal School-Based Social Information Processing Interventions for Aggression
School-based violence prevention interventions that target social information-processing difficulties in students, aiming to reduce the aggressive and disruptive behavior of school-aged children. The practice is rated Promising for reducing aggressive behavior in school-aged children.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Juvenile Problem & At-Risk Behaviors - Aggression



Targeted School-Based Social Information-Processing Interventions for Aggression
This practice examines targeted prevention efforts for particular students that attempt to improve one or more aspects of the students’ social information processing, aiming to prevent and/or reduce aggressive or violent behavior in school-aged children. The practice is rated Effective for reducing aggressive behavior in school-aged children.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Effective - One Meta-Analysis Juvenile Problem & At-Risk Behaviors - Aggression
bottom border


Program Snapshot

Age: 10 - 14

Gender: Male

Race/Ethnicity: Black

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): School, High Crime Neighborhoods/Hot Spots

Program Type: Classroom Curricula, Community Awareness/Mobilization, Conflict Resolution/Interpersonal Skills, School/Classroom Environment, Violence Prevention, Alcohol and Drug Prevention

Current Program Status: Active

Researcher:
Brian Flay
Professor, Department of Public Health
Oregon State University
321 Waldo Hall
Corvallis OR 97331
Phone: 541.737.3837
Fax: 541.737.4001
Website
Email

Training and TA Provider:
Carmela Lomonaco
Senior Research Associate
Sociometrics Corporation
170 State Street, Suite 260
Los Altos CA 94022
Phone: 650.383.6268
Fax: 650.949.3299
Website
Email