Mediators of Effects of a Selective Family-Focused Violence
Prevention Approach for Middle School Students
The Multisite Violence Prevention Project
Published online: 20 September 2011
Society for Prevention Research 2011
Abstract This study examined how parenting and family
characteristics targeted in a selective prevention program
mediated effects on key youth proximal outcomes related to
violence perpetration. The selective intervention was
evaluated within the context of a multi-site trial involving
random assignment of 37 schools to four conditions: a
universal intervention composed of a student social-
cognitive curriculum and teacher training, a selective
family-focused intervention with a subset of high-risk
students, a condition combining these two interventions,
and a no-intervention control condition. Two cohorts of
sixth-grade students (total N=1,062) exhibiting high levels
of aggression and social influence were the sample for this
study. Analyses of pre-post change compared to controls
using intent-to-treat analyses found no significant effects.
However, estimates incorporating participation of those
assigned to the intervention and predicted participation
among those not assigned revealed significant positive
effects on student aggression, use of aggressive strategies
for conflict management, and parental estimation of
student’s valuing of achievement. Findings also indicated
intervention effects on two targeted family processes:
discipline practices and family cohesion. Mediation analy-
ses found evidence that change in these processes mediated
effects on some outcomes, notably aggressive behavior and
valuing of school achievement. Results support the notion
that changing parenting practices and the quality of family
relationships can prevent the escalation in aggression and
The Multisite Violence Prevention Project The Multisite Violence
Prevention Project corporate author group includes the following
individuals listed by sites (sites are arranged in alphabetical order, and
variations in departments within sites are noted in parentheses):
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA: Thomas R. Simon, Robin M.
Ikeda, Emilie Phillips Smith, Le’Roy E. Reese. Center for Child and
Family Policy, Duke University: David L. Rabiner, Shari Miller,
Donna-Marie Winn, Kenneth A. Dodge, Steven R. Asher (Department
of Psychology and Neuroscience). University of Georgia: Arthur M.
Horne (Department of Counseling and Human Development
Services), Pamela Orpinas (Department of Health Promotion and
Behavior), Roy Martin (Department of Educational Psychology),
William H. Quinn (Department of Child and Family Development).
Institute for Juvenile Research, University of Illinois at Chicago:
Patrick H. Tolan, Deborah Gorman-Smith, David B. Henry, Franklin
N. Gay, Michael Schoeny. Department of Psychology, Virginia
Commonwealth University: Albert D. Farrell, Aleta L. Meyer, Terri N.
Sullivan, Kevin W. Allison.
Emilie Phillips Smith is now at the Department of Human Develop-
ment and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University. Le’Roy E.
Reese is now at the Department of Community Health and
Preventative Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine. Shari Miller
is now at the Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC.
Donna-Marie Winn is now at the Frank Porter Graham Child
Development Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
William H. Quinn is now at the College of Health, Education,
and Human Development, Clemson University. Aleta L. Meyer is
now at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bethesda, MD.
Patrick H. Tolan is now at the Curry School of Education,
University of Virginia. Deborah Gorman-Smith and Michael
Schoeny are now at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago,
and David Henry is now at the Institute for Health Research and
Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago.
This study was funded by the National Center for Injury
Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, CDC Cooperative Agreements U81/CCU417759 (Duke
University), U81/CCU517816 (University of Illinois at Chicago),
U81/CCU417778 (University of Georgia), and U81/CCU317633
(Virginia Commonwealth University). The findings and
conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not
necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.
Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to David
B. Henry, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of
Illinois at Chicago, 1747 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, IL 60608, USA.
Prev Sci (2012) 13:1–14