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Program Profile: Kids Club

Evidence Rating: No Effects - One study No Effects - One study

Date: This profile was posted on June 15, 2011

Program Summary

A multicomponent approach designed to improve behavioral and mental health in children exposed to intimate partner violence by targeting their knowledge and attitudes about family violence, their emotional adjustment, and their social behavior. The program is rated No Effects. There was no statistically significant improvement for the treatment group in measures of children’s internalizing or externalizing problems or their attitudes about family violence, compared with the control group.

This program’s rating is based on evidence that includes at least one high-quality randomized controlled trial.

Program Description

Program Goals
The Kids Club is a multicomponent approach designed to improve behavioral and mental health in children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) by targeting their knowledge and attitudes about family violence, their emotional adjustment, and their social behavior. The program focuses on promoting resilience and improving behavior for children who have witnessed IPV in their homes. The goal of the child-training component is to help children cope with their exposure to violence and change their attitudes and beliefs about violence, particularly family violence.
The program also aims to improve emotional adjustment and social behavior among children. Since being exposed to violence affects children’s ability to have positive social interactions, the program goal is to help these at-risk children adjust to a social environment, and reduce both behavioral (externalizing) problems and emotional (internalizing) problems.
Target Population/Eligibility
The program is targeted at children who have been exposed to intimate partner violence. Children do not have to be diagnosed with clinical levels of behavioral or emotional issues to be eligible. They can be identified as having subclinical levels of behavioral issues or merely be at risk for these problems.
Program Components
The 10-week long program provides a supportive group environment for children to share their experiences, including group activities and group therapy. Children are divided into two groups by age (6 to 8, and 9 to 12) and mixed by gender. Each group has approximately five to seven children and two trained therapists to provide support. By participating in group activities, children are able to learn that they are not alone in their exposure to violence and learn social skills. Many of the group activities address family violence through displacement by using drawings, puppets, and movies.
Early therapy sessions focus on providing the children with a sense of safety, to develop a therapeutic alliance and to help them make sense of emotions related to violence exposure by creating a common vocabulary of emotions. Later sessions focus on managing emotions, conflict resolution, and strengthening family relationships.
Key Personnel
Specially trained therapists implement this program, including graduate students in clinical psychology and social work.
Program Theory
This program is based on the theory that exposure to intimate partner violence causes distress and anxiety in children. As a result of observing violence, they learn destructive patterns of behavior, attitudes, and beliefs. Children are then more likely to engage in violence and believe that it is acceptable. They are also placed at a high risk for future delinquent behavior. This program attempts to combat these negative attitudes by promoting the idea that violence is not acceptable and offers alternatives to aggression (Graham–Bermann et al. 2007).
Other Information
This program is often implemented in conjunction with the Moms’ Empowerment program. The program is also featured on

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Externalizing Problems
Graham–Bermann and colleagues (2007) found that there were no statistically significant differences in measures of externalizing problem behaviors between children in the child-only (CO) intervention group who participated in the Kids Club program and the control group (CG) at posttreatment.

Internalizing Problems
There were no statistically significant differences in measures of internalizing problems between the CO intervention group and the CG group at posttreatment.
Attitudes About Family Violence (AAFV)
There were no statistically significant differences in scores of AAFV between the CO intervention group and the CG group at posttreatment.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
Graham–Bermann and colleagues (2007) conducted a study to evaluate the impact of the Kids Club program on children in Michigan. Children were recruited through their mothers from local social service agencies, battered women’s shelters, and through flyers and newspaper advertisements. To be eligible for the study, children had to be between the ages of 6 and 12 and have a mother who had experienced physical conflict in her relationship over the past year.
The study sample consisted of 110 boys and 111 girls, a total of 221 children. The children were randomly assigned to three conditions: child-only intervention (Kids Club), child-plus-mother intervention (Moms’ Empowerment), and a control group. First, seven children were assigned to the child-only (CO) group, the next seven to the child-plus-mother (CM) group, and the next seven to the control group (CG), with this pattern repeated until they were all assigned. The CG children were placed on a waiting list and did not participate in either intervention. CM and CO groups did not differ from CG participants in ethnicity, income, maternal age or marital status, education, child age or gender, or exposure to intimate partner violence.

The review of this study focused on the comparisons between the child-only condition and the control group.
There were 62 CO and 58 CG children who participated in the study. Both groups were interviewed at baseline right before the program began and interviewed a second time at the end of the program. The CO group was interviewed a third time, 8 months after the program ended. At the end of the 10 weeks, those in the CG group were offered a chance to participate in the program and were not interviewed a third time. Some children who received the treatment were not interviewed a third time, refused the interview, or dropped out after the program ended. The remaining 56 in the CO group participated in all three interviews.
Externalizing and internalizing behaviors were assessed, using the Child Behavioral Checklist. Mothers completed this 113-item questionnaire, rating statements about their children’s behaviors from 0 to 2, as follows: 0=“not true,” 1=“somewhat or sometimes true,” and 2=“very true or often true.” The externalizing scale includes statements about aggression and delinquency, while the internalizing scale includes statements about anxiety, depression, withdrawal, and somatic complaints.
Attitudes toward violence were also assessed, using the Attitudes About Family Violence scale, an instrument that was created for use in this study. The children were asked to rate 10 statements about violence on a 5-point scale and how much they agreed with the statement. Positive statements were reverse scored, so the higher the overall score, the more negative their attitudes toward violence. The study authors did not conduct subgroup analyses.
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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Implementation Information

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Training manuals are available to outline how to properly implement this program. Therapists are trained in clinical and social work and ethical issues in dealing with people exposed to violence and at-risk populations. Training is recommended to implement the program. A 6-hour training program is available on DVD.
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Other Information (Including Subgroup Findings)

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The Kids Club program originally received a final program rating of Promising based on a review of the 2007 study by Graham–Bermann and colleagues. A rereview of the same study with the updated Program Scoring Instrument in 2018 resulted in a new final evidence rating of No Effects. No Effects programs have strong evidence indicating that they had no effects when implemented with fidelity.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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

Study 1
Graham–Bermann, Sandra, Shannon Lynch, Victoria Banyard, Ellen DeVoe, and Hilda Halabu. 2007. “Community-Based Intervention for Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence: An Efficacy Trial.” Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology 75(2):199–209.
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Additional References

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

Graham–Bermann, Sandra A., Kathryn H. Howell, Michelle Lilly, and Ellen Devoe. 2011. “Mediators and Moderators of Change in Adjustment Following Intervention for Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 26(9):1815–1833.

Graham–Bermann, Sandra A, Madhur R. Kulkarni, and Shanta Kanukollu. 2011. “Is Disclosure Therapeutic for Children Following Exposure to Traumatic Violence?” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 26(5):1056–1076.

Graham–Bermann, Sandra A and Alytia A. Levendosky (eds.). 2011. How Intimate Partner Violence Affects Children: Developmental Research, Case Studies, and Evidence-Based Treatment. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Books.
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Program Snapshot

Age: 6 - 12

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, White, Other

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting

Program Type: Conflict Resolution/Interpersonal Skills, Group Therapy, Victim Programs, Children Exposed to Violence, Violence Prevention

Targeted Population: Victims of Crime, Children Exposed to Violence, Families

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Child Exposure to Violence Evidence Based Guide, Model Programs Guide